Jean Allman session on archives

Dr Kate Skinner (DASA) and Dr Wilson Yayoh (University of Cape Coast) convened a four-day workshop in Ghana on the theme of innovation and inter-disciplinarity in the study of that country’s past. 

From 28 to 31 October 2013, postgraduate students from University of Cape Coast (UCC) and the University of Ghana (Legon) participated in sessions on  proposal writing, archives inside / outside Ghana, oral history and private archives, documentary film in historical research, praise poetry in Asante history, sources for the history of Ghana’s slave trades, newspapers as historical sources, the problem of sources in environmental history and the ‘layering’ of sources in historical research.

The sessions were led by a range of Ghanaian and international speakers, including Dr Lynne Brydon and Professor Tom McCaskie (DASA), Professor Benedict Der (University of Cape Coast), Professor Kojo Amanor (University of Ghana, Legon), Professor Jean Allman (Washington University at St Louis), and Professor Stephan Miescher (University of California at Santa Barbara), whilst Dr Kate Skinner and Dr Wilson Yayoh presented some of their own research on African-language newspapers as sources in the study of the Ghana-Togo border question.

In between these structured sessions, postgraduate students were able to meet one-to-one with the speakers to go through dissertation proposals and draft chapters, and discuss the range of sources that might be brought to bear upon their chosen research topics. Postgraduate participants described the workshop as ‘empowering’ and ‘enlightening’, and we are all looking forward to a follow-up event in 2014.

The workshop builds upon the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the University of Birmingham and the University of Cape Coast in June 2013. The workshop organisers are grateful for the financial support of the British Academy under their International Partnerships and Mobility Scheme.