n Historia - Transnational written cultures, local challenges
Written Culture in a Colonial Context : Africa and the Americas, 1500-1900, A. Delmas and N. Penn (Eds.) : book review

Volume 57, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



connects the evidence of written culture with historical issues of broad social and cultural significance. Bringing together the histories of written culture and European expansion from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, it lifts studies of literacy, writing, books and reading into the realms of transnational and interdisciplinary scholarship, foregrounding the largely overlooked regions of Africa and the Americas. The fifteen chapters that make up this seminal publication are so rich in detail that it makes little sense to provide a summative overview. It seems instead more useful to address some of its methodological features and to identify the challenges for historians who wish to carry forward this kind of research in South Africa. In doing so, I will draw on my overall impressions of the book using specific examples where these are relevant.

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