International Workshop

A 2-day international workshop on "Orality, Performance and Diaspora Studies" set in the Asien-Afrika-Institut, a unique and modern study environment for future scholars in the field of area studies. Jointly organized by the department of Southeast Asian Studies and department of African and Ethiopian Studies of the Universität Hamburg and supported by the Hamburgische Wissenschaftliche Stiftung (HWS).

9 – 10 December 2016

The Idea

The oral word is typically mobile: once the vocal cords produce vibrations of the air the sound is transported by air waves to be captured by the ears of the speaker and his audience leaving a temporary sonic impression with cognitive and emotional effects. While speech acts and oral deliveries are unique and ephemeral, modern audio-visual technologies have enormously extended the limitations of both time and space, which arguably have led to a revival of oral traditions and certainly have resulted in a reappraisal of what may be considered ‘traditional’ orality and performances. 

By way of the internet now oral traditions and performances travel the world and are archived in digital formats to be preserved for future generations to study fleeting traditions. Ironically perhaps, orality is very much a phenomenon of the here and now surviving mass education and print literacy, to receive fresh stimuli from new technologies, such as television, radio and internet-based media. Although broadly speaking primary oral traditions may be vanishing quite rapidly, types of orality persist and thrive in close connection with written and print-literate traditions. In fact, the concepts literacy and orality are impossible to understand in isolation from each other. Orality is an infinitely important mode of textual production everywhere, especially in Asia and Africa where age-old traditions of story tellers, singers and other verbal artists survive and increasingly inspire and interact with the production of new texts and artful expressions in a large variety of media.

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       A Word From the Organizers

Prof. Dr. Jan van der Putten, Professor for Austronesian Studies

"We extend a warm welcome to all the participants and other people who are interested to attend this workshop, which has been on our minds for a few years since we organised an evening program entitled 'Africa Meets Asia: Orality and Performance in Kabari and Kora' in April 2014. The workshop is a further development from this topic by including mobility or migration and diaspora studies that will surely trigger good presentations and stimulating discussions. We look very much forward to your participation in these discussions and hope to set up a strong basis and forum to develop new insights into the studies of orality and performances in the future."  

Dr. Getie Gelaye, Lecturer for African and Ethiopian Studies

"Integrating Orality, Performance, Intercultural and Diaspora Studies using modern technology, is going to be the major aim of our next academic deliberation at the University of Hamburg. Being Germany’s major port city, Hamburg is also home to thousands of Asian, Arabian and African migrants who vividly enrich the cultural, linguistic and musical traditions of the city. We sincerely hope that our Workshop is going to be an inspiring academic forum for young and senior researchers, a forum that combines scholarly paper presentations, with live performances and discussions with distinguished singers, performers and storytellers."


Professor Dr. Peter Wasamba: Orality, Fieldwork and Textual Production in the 21st Century

Dr. Peter Wasamba is a Professor of African Oral Literature at the University of Nairobi. He is the current Dean Faculty of Arts at the University of Nairobi. He has previously served as an Associate Dean, Faculty of arts, and Chairman in the Depa ...Read more

Dr. Aone van Engelenhoven: Mending Torn Stories Creating a Narrative Identity in the Moluccan Exile Community in The Netherlands

Dr. Aone van Engelenhoven is currently a University lecturer at Leiden University, Netherlands. His research focuses on several linguistic and anthropological linguistic issues in Indonesia, East Timor, among Moluccan migrants in the Netherlands a ...Read more



Basic Data

$Participation Fee


Hasina Samoelinanja

Hasina Samoelinanja grew up in accordance with the Malagasy culture. Since his childhood he is a Kabary speaker. In 2006, he successfully completed his masters in German Studies with a thesis on the Malagasy social philosophy "Fihavanana" and its development... 

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Saliou Cissokho

Saliou Cissokho was born in Casamance, a border region between Senegal/ Gambia, West Africa. He is a born-Jali since his father originates from a famous Griot family, who are said to know the secrets of performing traditional music for several hours, days and nights...

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Alevi Music Performers: Hasan Hüseyin Sarı, Benjamin Stueck, Malte Stueck

Hasan Hüseyin Sarı, Benjamin Stueck and Malte Stueck will present their artistic skills in the use of the saz, a traditional long-necked lute, which is the accompaniment for an Aşık, a term often used for minstrels and poet musicians from the Turkish tradition...

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We kindly acknowledge the financial support of the Hamburgische Wissenschaftliche Stiftung (HWS) and our collegues: Prof. Roland Kießling, Prof. Alessandro Bausi, Prof. Henning Schreiber and Prof. Jan van der Putten. 


Location: Asien-Afrika-Institut

Universität Hamburg,
Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1, Flügel Ost,
20146 Hamburg