This communication deals with the issue of the connection between speaking-writing with a particular attention to the practices of transcription during the colonial period. The main source of the history of the kingdom Porto-Novo comes from a volume published in 1953 by the literates (A. Akindélé and C. Aguessy, IFAN). It constitutes the translation (and integration) of a work in yoruba language printed in Lagos in 1914. In an essay of 1975, Yves Person carefully demonstrated that Akindélé and Aguessy validated a wrong dating of the origin of the kingdom (a date which was uncritically acquired by the majority of the scientific literature). The discovery of an unpublished manuscript, written in 1877 by the missionary Thomas J. Marshall (Methodist Missionary Society Archives, SOAS, University of London) allowed Rosario Giordano to evaluate the chronology in connection with the instability factors which animated the structures of power of Porto-Novo during the second half of the 19th century. The mixture of several stories, transmitted both in writing and orally suggests the creation of a tradition on the origin of the kingdom. In this divergence two aspects have special relevance: the rivalry with the more potent ‘brother’ kingdom of Dahomey and, related to the colonial context, the desire of providing Porto Novo with a writ-ten history according to cultural European standards.

Articulation oralité-écriture et ‘invention de la tradition’. Le cas du royaume de Porto-Novo (Hogbonu),

GIORDANO, Rosario Francesco
2015

Abstract

This communication deals with the issue of the connection between speaking-writing with a particular attention to the practices of transcription during the colonial period. The main source of the history of the kingdom Porto-Novo comes from a volume published in 1953 by the literates (A. Akindélé and C. Aguessy, IFAN). It constitutes the translation (and integration) of a work in yoruba language printed in Lagos in 1914. In an essay of 1975, Yves Person carefully demonstrated that Akindélé and Aguessy validated a wrong dating of the origin of the kingdom (a date which was uncritically acquired by the majority of the scientific literature). The discovery of an unpublished manuscript, written in 1877 by the missionary Thomas J. Marshall (Methodist Missionary Society Archives, SOAS, University of London) allowed Rosario Giordano to evaluate the chronology in connection with the instability factors which animated the structures of power of Porto-Novo during the second half of the 19th century. The mixture of several stories, transmitted both in writing and orally suggests the creation of a tradition on the origin of the kingdom. In this divergence two aspects have special relevance: the rivalry with the more potent ‘brother’ kingdom of Dahomey and, related to the colonial context, the desire of providing Porto Novo with a writ-ten history according to cultural European standards.
978-2-8111-1412-1
orality/writing, transcription, colonial and postcolonial history, historiography, genealogy, chronology, tradition.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/164832
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