About this Online Exhibition

This online exhibition is based on the physical one presented at the BAB in 2021. The exhibition sheds light on aspects of one key question: How do a library, an archive and a publishing house handle African knowledge in Europe today?


We reflect on the acquisition, accessibility and dissemination of African knowledge and content in publications and documents of any kind—books, periodicals, papers and manuscripts, images, posters or maps, sound and film recordings, (digital) exhibitions and other formats.


We exhibit traditional and current techniques of documentation, practices of cataloguing and publication procedures. Thus, we address issues concerning the processes of systematisation and knowledge production. It is not only themes which are important in a library and archive, but also the systems of knowledge produced and transmitted by curators.




Collecting and Classifying Knowledge: From the Colonial to the Postcolonial Library

Who are the authors and what kinds of knowledge from and about African countries is collected? Do we only catalogue colonial authors in European languages? How do we record African languages and literatures?


Publishing House

Circulating Knowledge: From Manuscripts to Books

How is a manuscript turned into a book? Who are our authors? Do we publish and distribute only in Europe?



Narrating Knowledge: From Praise Songs and Interviews to Soundscapes

Whose voices are accessed in the Archive? Is it only missionaries and European settlers who speak in colonial archives? What is a postcolonial archive?



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