ISSN 0948-3926

Edited by: Beatrix Heintze.

Frobenius Institute, Frankfurt/Main

The series Afrika-Archiv (Africa Archives) was founded with the aim of publishing source material on the history and anthropology of Africa. The term ‘source material’ shall be considered here in a very broad sense. Thus, besides analysing the usual archival documents and other written sources, written records of oral traditions, editions of ethnographic collections or photographic documentations will also be taken into account. On the one hand, the series will enable African scholars to publish material from their own countries to which scholars from Europe and America have only limited access. Western scholars, on the other hand, will be able to publish material from public and private European or American archives, museums or even widely dispersed articles in periodicals and newspapers on African history of the 19th century.

As a reviewer once commented, such source editions will continue to be valued when contemporary interpretations have already long fallen into oblivion. Endeavors to systematically record varied sources on the history of the country, the cultural and scientific history of Africa and those to make the important information generally available to the scientific public still appear insufficient. This entails serious consequences for the quality of research and affords privileges to the few having access to both the convenient place of residence and the corresponding means of research. It also impedes a critical analysis of the “results” presented since these cannot be verified by others. Above all, the possibilities for African scholars to obtain written sources on their own history entails for the most part diproportionately high expenses, since these source materials, scattered over several continents, partly rest in badly developed archives or even remain (e.g. notes made during a field research) in private ownership of individual researchers.

However, not everything is suitable for publication and worth the time and expense. But still, more can and ought to be done in this regard, particularly, since – in the editor’s opinion – the West has an exceptional obligation to facilitate access to these sources. It is also important for Africans to enable them to be in a position to intervene, – more possible than it was for them hitherto – as competent and well informed participants in international debates on their own history and society and to present their own interpretations of this history.

For the time being this new series is intended to publish sources in German, English and French. Naturally, critical editions that fulfil the highest standards would be the ideal. According to the editor’s experience, however, these are obtainable only in exceptional cases, without regular employees with a corresponding programme. Therefore this series, though striving to achieve this standard, will not put up any rigid hurdles. A prerequisite, however, will be a minimum of editorial revising, including an introduction and all clarifications necessary for comprehension.

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