AODL is an open access digital library of African cultural heritage materials created by Michigan State University in collaboration with museums, archives, scholars, and communities around the world.

Collections of AODL

Africa Past & Present

Podcast about history, culture, and politics in Africa and the diaspora. Highlights interesting and significant people, ideas, and discussions in African Studies

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Everyday Islam in Kumasi

A growing collection of video interviews with Muslim men and women who live and work in Kumasi, Ghana

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Diversity and Tolerance in the Islam of West Africa

Archival and research materials that explore Islamic practices in the West African countries of Senegal and Ghana. Presented in six galleries of audio and video interviews, transcripts, photographs, maps, documents, and multimedia presentations, these resources shed much-needed light on how Muslims in West Africa accept religious difference and create productive interactions among Christians, Muslims, and practitioners of other faiths.

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Community Video Education Trust

More than 90 hours of video documenting political activities during the 1980s and 1990s in South Africa, mostly in Cape Town

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Life Stories of Women Traders From Kumasi Central Market

50 interviews in Twi focused on women traders in from Kumasi Central Market in Ghana.

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Slave Biographies

Slave Biographies: The Atlantic Database Network is an open access data repository of information on the identities of enslaved people in the Atlantic World. It includes the names, ethnicities, skills, occupations, and illnesses of individual slaves.

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'Forgotten' Voices in the Present: alternative, post-1994 oral histories from South Africa

18 photographs and 55 oral interviews with residents in three poor communities in South Africa, exploring experiences of the South African transition, and the realities of life for the oppressed and marginalized majority in post-1994 South Africa.

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African Oral Narratives

7 collections of oral and life histories, folklore, and songs from Ethiopia, Ghana and South Africa. These audio and video resources capture the voices and experiences of ordinary men and women. In more than a half a dozen African languages, these materials can be used for conducting historical research and to learn about many African cultures and languages.

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Islam and Modernity: Alternatives in Contemporary Senegambia & Ghana

5 galleries showing West Africans as resourceful, original and "modern" practitioners of Islam. Materials are important examples for teachers and students of world history, emphasizing Senegambia, a Muslim majority area set in the Sahel, and Ghana, a Muslim minority country set in the forest region

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Collaboration, Modernity and Colonial Rule: Sidiyya Baba and Mauritania

20 images, 6 documents, 4 maps, and 9 essays tell the story of Sidiyya Baba in French Mauritania at the turn of the 20th century

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Banjul Muslims and the Islamic Court

11 court cases created by the Bathurst (Banjul) Muslim court between 1927 and 1954.

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Farmers' Voices in Ethiopian Agriculture

7 oral interviews primarily in Amharic and over 60 photographs explore the landscape, agriculture, and the livelihood practices of small-scale farmers in Ethiopia's Lake Region during the contemporary period.

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African Media Program

A searchable database of films and videos about Africa. Some records contain reviews and synopses

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Military Intelligence in Apartheid-Era South Africa

20 audio interviews, transcripts, and translations of individuals involved in military intelligence operations in South Africa during the apartheid era. Collection includes related photographs by South African news photographer Doug Lee.

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South African Film and Video Project

Project to preserve and make accessible moving images from the years of struggle against apartheid in collaboration with African partners

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American Black Journal: Africa and African-Americans

Shows from this decades long program on Detroit Public Television that focus on Africa and commentary by African-Americans

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African Activist Archive

Multimedia historical materials and interviews with activists in the U.S. movement in solidarity with struggles of African peoples against apartheid, colonialism, and injustice

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Public Face of Islam in Kumasi

Video footage, interviews, and slideshows of public events and street life in Kumasi's Muslim neighborhoods feature annual festivals, family celebrations, schools, and work life. Materials in this gallery show a wide variety of acceptable dress styles and occupations for men, women, and children.

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South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid, Building Democracy

A multimedia online curriculum resource that includes 45 video interviews with first-hand accounts of this important political movement

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Pluralism and Adaptation in the Islamic Practice of Senegal and Ghana

Four multimedia galleries that demonstrate how innovative Africans have been in the history of Islam and Islamic practice and how they continue to live and experience Islam. Through maps, images, multi-lingual audio, video, and textual materials, these galleries shed light on ways diverse Muslim communities in West Africa cooperate with one another and with followers of other faith and indigenous traditions.

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Northern Factors in Asante History

Audio interviews, transcripts, photographs, and 4 brief essays explicate the northern factor in Asante history and the importance of Islam and trade on this history.

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Failed Islamic States in Senegambia

In the 18th and 19th centuries, several determined reformers sought to extend the breadth and depth of Islamic practice in Senegambia and neighboring areas by using the 'jihad of the sword.' In each case their military efforts failed in the medium and long term, and sometimes more quickly, and did little to extend the faith. Their failure led Senegambian Muslims to think more of Sufi forms and practices of the faith, in which the political domain was much less important than the religious, social and economic realms, and to accept various forms of accommodation with the new political authorities, in this case the administrators of French West Africa.

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Discourses of Muslim Scholars in Colonial Ghana

13 poems of al-ḥājj 'Umar ibn Abī Bakri of Kete-Krachi, the leading Muslim scholar of his era. It includes annotated English translations of Arabic and Hausa documents written during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It reveals one Muslim's views about the era and offers assessments and advice that are relevant to Muslims in Ghana today. Al-ḥājj 'Umar's poems, written for recitation, are very sophisticated examples of classical Arabic literature.

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Exploring Africa

A curriculum divided into Units, Modules, and Learning Activities for middle school and high school. Each Unit covers a major topic or theme in the study of Africa

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Transformations in Islamic Education in Ghana

Images, audio interviews, and transcripts explore both contemporary and historical Muslim responses to secular education in Ghana.

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African e-Journals Project

Full-text articles of back issues of 11 humanities and social science journals published in Africa plus a database of journals published in and about Africa

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West African Online Digital Library

Galleries of photographs, audio interviews, and documents contributed by scholars, with research about best practices for international, multilingual digital repositories

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Saint-Louis: Religious Pluralism in the Heart of Senegal

Handwritten texts, images and audio interviews dealing with the interactions of Saint Louis's French Catholic communities, Muslim majority, the French administration, and Freemasons in the late 19th and 20th centuries

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Qadiri Community of Buh Kunta

Interviews, photos, documents and newspaper articles focusing on the Buh Kunta branch of the Qadiriya sufi order. Short essays in English and French outline the history and contemporary dynamics of this religious community.

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Ajami in the Senegambia

Over 20 handwritten ajami manuscripts produced by West African scholars. The texts (Arabic scripts of African languages) contain insightful discussions on mutual understanding between people of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds in Senegambia

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The Kropp Dakubu Collection of Farefari Discourse

Interviews in the Farefari language of northern Ghana, with English translations, on chieftaincy, migration and dispute resolution. There are also several samples of oral art in the language.

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