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17-18 December 2019, Addis Regency Hotel, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

Organized by the project “Multilingual Locals, Significant Geographies” (SOAS University of London)


Day 1, 17 December 2019

9.30-10.15am: Registration, coffee

10.15am-10.30am: Welcome remarks (Francesca Orsini, Assefa Tefera Dibaba)

10.30am-12.30: First panel – Oral literature in world literary studies. Chair: Sara Marzagora

  • Francesca Orsini (SOAS University of London), “Looking back, looking forward: Bhojpuri orature travels the world”
  • Zerihun Asfaw (Addis Ababa University), “Research on Oral Poetry: A Review”
  • Tadesse Jaleta Jirata (Addis Ababa University), “‘Orature’ Across Generations among the Oromo of Ethiopia”

12-1.30pm: Lunch

1.30pm-3pm: Second Panel – “Traces” of oral literature against hegemonic narratives. Chair: Itzea Goikolea Amiano

    • Vanessa Paloma Elbaz (University of Cambridge), “Sephardi Orature and the myth of Hispanidad”
  • Ayele Kebede (SOAS University of London), “Novelization of Orature or ‘localization’ of the novel?: The interface between orature and the novels in Afan Oromo and Amharic”

3pm-3.30pm: Coffee break

3.30pm-5pm: Third Panel – Modernity and the non-linear histories of oral traditions. Chair: Ayele Kebede

  • Sara Marzagora (SOAS University of London), “The significant geographies of fukkära and qärärto (heroic recitals and war songs) in Ethiopian history”
  • Sadhana Naithani (Jawaharlal Nehru University), “Two Tracks: Stories of the Destinies of Two Performative Oratures”

5pm-6pm: Performances

  • Vanessa Elbaz
  • Assefa Tefera Dibeba

Conference dinner




Day 2, 18 December 2019


9.30am-11am: Fourth panel – Oral traditions, landscapes and public spaces. Chair: Karima Laachir 

  • Assefa Tefera Dibaba (Addis Ababa University), “Ambience: Voices from Broken Places”
  • Fatima Zahra Salih (Université Sultan Moulay Slimane), “Erasure and rehabilitation of halqa in Morocco: the fortunes of a marginalised oral cultural heritage”

11am-11.30pm Coffee Break

11.30pm-1.30pm: Fifth Panel: Oral traditions, music and popular culture. Chair: Francesca Orsini

  • Karima Laachir (Australian National University), “Morocco’s Popular Culture Powerhouse: Darija, Literariness and Chaabi Music”
  • Yenealem Aredo and Desta Desalegn (Addis Ababa University), “The Contextual and Functional Analysis of Nao Folk Songs”
  • Virginia Pisano (SOAS University of London), “Dissenting voices of Cairo: Sheikh Imam, Ahmad Fu’ad Negm and their legacy in the contemporary music scene”

1.30pm-3pm: Lunch

3pm-4.30pm: Roundtable discussion

Conference dinner