Sources and texts

DASA researchers continue to identify and analyse a wide range of oral and written texts, in African and European languages. Recent DASA researchers have studied newspapers, chronicles, political chants and songs, and popular religious pamphlets. 

Motivated by the field-changing research of Paulo Fernando de Moraes Farias and Karin Barber, we believe that texts can reveal aspects of the societies in which they are produced, circulated and consumed; but texts can also intervene in social relations, by generating new and competing representations of individuals, political institutions and socio-cultural practices.


Academic staff:

  • Karin Barber: Anthropology, popular culture, religion, and the verbal arts, both oral and written. Yoruba and Yoruba print culture.
  • Stewart Brown: African and Caribbean fiction and poetry.
  • Paulo Fernando de Moraes Farias: Early pre-colonial history of Africa, cultural interactions, oral traditions, West African medieval Arabic inscriptions.
  • Tom McCaskie: History and culture of Asante and Africa, comparative history, history of ideas, historiography.
  • Benedetta Rossi: history and anthropology of twentieth-century West Africa, Hausa and Tuareg societies.
  • Kate Skinner: social and political histories of modern and contemporary Ghana and Togo, political activism, gender activism, legal reform, print cultures, mass literacy and education in other African countries.

Doctoral researchers:

  • Pernille Nailor: Narratives of Belonging in the Textual Space of Afropolitanism: Nigeria, Ghana and their UK/US Diasporas
  • Kiranpreet Kaur: Construction of African Identity: Politics of Memory and Cruelty in British and African Travel Narratives about Central Africa (1800-2015)

Recent selected publications



Find out more


Related videos:

Displacements of Discourse and the Making of the Concept of African Oral Tradition
West Africa's flexible epics: Manding oralcy's tool kit for political commentary, status claims and socialisation
Muslim oralcy in West Africa: a neglected subject