I-2. Human Sciences and Identity Studies for Cooperation and Development in Africa – Examples from the Field

Conveners: Ilaria Micheli (University of Trieste); e-mail: imicheli@units.it, Mauro Tosco (University of Turin); e-mail: mauro.tosco@unito.it

Africa is a continent whose huge diversity of traditional cultures have until now been neglected in the global arena. In a world which is getting quicker and quicker in its transformations and where phenomena like climate changes, migrations due to civil and economic wars or terrorism can have devastating impacts on ethnic and linguistic minorities, Africa represents one of the most endangered areas for what concerns the survival and preservation of diversity. Most African indigenous languages and cultures are at stake, and often only a change in attitudes and perspectives in the design and implementation in the field of cooperation and development projects can make the difference in the preservation, survival or re-vitalization of languages and cultures. In order to do this, all disciplines of the Human Sciences should find a place and have a role in imagining and developing a “new cooperation”. The Italian project “ATRA – African transitions” (www.africantransitions.it) in its three years lifespan (2013–2016) has shown that the inclusion of disciplines like linguistics, archaeology, philology, anthropology and history in many projects of cooperation, mainly in the Horn of Africa, has been crucial for the empowerment of local communities and for stimulating their sense of cohesion and cultural and linguistic identity. The panel conveners were members of the ATRA research team and their aim in this conference is to bring the discussion on the role of Human Sciences in Cooperation to a wider, international context. Papers by experts in the field of African languages, cultures and folklore, as well as contributions by archaeologists, historians and philologists will be particularly welcome.