Aïssatou Mbodj-Pouye
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Cross-disciplinary approach to literacy practices in present Mali (anthropology, linguistics)

Monday 16 February 2009

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Collaborative work with Cécile Van den Avenne:

Writing to the radio Our current research project is a study on the uses of literacy at a local radio in Mopti. A corpus of letters addressed to Radio Jamana-Mopti has been gathered during fieldwork trips in 2007 and 2008, in collaboration with Cécile Van den Avenne. I had already dealt with the links between radio and literacy in my thesis, from the standpoint of rural writers addressing various forms of letters and “communiqués” (adverts) to a local radio in Fana. In Mopti, we interviewed one of the most obsessive letter-writers to Radio Jamana, and gathered an individual corpus of his letters in Bamanan and Fula (this corpus comprises almost one hundred letters spanning from 2002 to 2008). Another source has been a specific broadcast, dedicated to dream interpretation, where listeners anonymously send a narrative of their dreams to be interpreted on the air (amounting to more than two hundreds letters). Ethnographic observations at the radio complement this material.

Some preliminary methodological questions have been asked in a conference paper: « Ecrire en contexte plurilingue. La circulation du courrier des auditeurs à la radio Jamana de Mopti (Mali) », 5ème colloque du Réseau Français de Sociolinguistique, Université de Picardie, Amiens, 13/06/2007, Aïssatou Mbodj-Pouye & Cécile Van den Avenne. Full text (French)

We will present the first resulsts of this ongoing work at the Conference Multilingualism from Below University of Antwerp, 14-16 September 2009. Our paper, accepted, will deal with "Language use in grassroots literacy practices: Code-switching in dream narratives sent to a local radio in Mopti, Mali".

Multilingual practices in West Africa Following our joint research on multilingual writings in Mali (see Publications), we have tried to set up a network of junior scholars working on literacy practices in multilingual contexts in West Africa .

The panel co-convened with Anne Doquet at the Mande Studies Conference in Lisbon, June 2007, was the main event gathering those of these scholars working on Mali.

We aim at developing this network, still informal. Suggestions are welcome!

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