11 CASE STUDIES:WHAT ARE THEY AND WHO IS DEALING WITH THEM

1) "Language, culture, identity in the buffer region of the Nassian prefecture (Côte d'Ivoire)".
Located in the North-Eastern part of the country, the region of Nassian represents the border between the Voltaic world of the Savannah (Gur languages), based on a village tradition with a bi- or patrilineal descent modality, and the world of the great Akan- Ashanti culture of gold, based on sacred kingship and matrilineal descent. Therefore it constitutes an important field for the study of the mechanisms of linguistic and cultural identity negotiation of the Gur minorities (Djimini, Lohron and Lobi).
- Ilaria Micheli - Units,Trieste

2) "Linguistic and Cultural Ethnogenesis of the Bawlé of Côte d'Ivoire".
According to their tradition, the Bawlé were born from a branch of the Ashante nobles, guided from princess Abla Poku, escaping from the civil war burnt out after the death of King Osei Tutu at the end of the XVIII century. In their way westwards, the Bawlé decided to settle in an area originally inhabited by Guro people (Mande Sud), who had a very simple village society. Aim of this project is to analyze what, of the Guro substratum, survives in the Bawlé culture and the mechanisms of adjustment to the new situation applied by the newcomers, superior to the Guro in terms of technology and cultural prestige.
- Franco Crevatin - Units, Trieste

3) "Construction of the Tira cultural and linguistic identity".
Tira (Kordofanian) language will be analyzed as a product of the contact between the nomad peoples of the Sahara and the agricultural ones of the Nile valley. The Tira, as many other ethnic groups of the Nuba mountains, were object of brutal persecutions during the bloody civil war, which seemed to be ended in 2011 (and now is burnt out again) with the birth of the anglophone, independent Country of South Sudan, which anyway up to now doesn't include the Kordofan region.
- Franco Crevatin - Units, Trieste.

4) "Ethnolinguistic identity, attitudes and metalinguistic representations in the newly born state of South Sudan".
Juba Arabic, a recently born pidgin language, will be analyzed either from the point of view of morphosyntax or in a sociolinguistic perspective.
- Mauro Tosco - Unito, Turin.

5) "Language, material culture and self-determination of the Saho of Eritrea and Ethiopia"
Our aim is to analyze the Saho settlement as a pastoralist group in a historical perspective in the eastern part of the Eritrean and Ethiopian highlands as well as in their slopes. The idea is to understand and document those strategies which allowed the Saho to adopt, in any case with their own original interpretation, cultural characteristics of the highlands, considering also that the same adaptive strategies have permitted a significative Saho presence from Massawa down to the Dancalia lowland and in the political and commercial nets between the Red Sea and the Sudanese hinterland. The Saho of Eritrea and Ethiopia speak a Eastern Cushitic language very close to 'Afar (a dialectal continuum divided in different genealogical lines, some of which consider themselves to be bound to Tigre or Tigrinya speaking clans). Of the Saho will be analyzed the traditional material culture, its dialects and toponymy. link:
ethnorema.it - Progetti Saho marzo 2012
ethnorema.it - projects
www.academia.edu/The Saho of Eritrea and the documentation
of their language and cultural heritage


6) "Description of the Nara".
The study of Nara could contribute to a better understanding also of Nilo-Saharan languages today extinct, like Meroitic, which was maybe already spoken in High Nubia during the 3rd millennium BC. In fact, material culture dating to the 3rd and 2nd millenniums BC recorded in the Eritrean-Sudanese lowlands, a region where Nara is spoken today, show many common traits with Upper Nubia material culture dating to the same period. The cooperation with the archaeologists could bring to light chronological data, useful for the study of the development of Nilo-Saharan languages.
- Giorgio Banti - UNO, Naples.

7) "The Tigré language: processes of formation and literarization".
The study of the shaping and uses of Tigré (an Ethio-Semitic language spoken between Eritrea and Sudan, which since a few years has reached a literary status) will contribute to the understanding of the processes of assimilation and differentiation which, for two millenniums, had involved peoples with very different cultural and linguistic origins. A parallel research will focus on the regions of Eastern Tigray (Ethiopia), focusing also on a rich handwritten and epigraphic documentation in Ge'ez (Ancient Ethiopian) and in Arabic.
- Gianfrancesco Lusini - UNO, Naples.

8) "Interaction, hybridization and identity during Antiquity in the Horn of Africa through material culture".
The team intends to investigate, with an archaeological approach, cultural contacts and exchange networks among the coastal and lowland areas of the Horn of Africa at a local and interregional level, defining identity manifestations of human groups in these areas of transition. In particular, the team seek to identify which elements of material culture can be considered as indicators of identity. These aspects are also analyzed in connection with indicators of social hierarchy and of adaptation strategies to different environmental contexts (maritime, lowland, highland, etc..). The Eritrean-Sudanese lowlands is an interesting area for investigating the mechanism of transmission of exogenous cultural traits, such as those of Upper Nubia, and to understand how some of them might have been identified as elements of identity during the development of hierarchical societies (4th-1st millennium BC.). In this framework, the analysis of commercial and cultural contacts between Egypt and its southern neighbours can be inserted in the general research of the UNO unit as case study of interaction and hybridization of ancient cultures in the Red Sea/Horn of Africa regions. Moreover, the collaboration with the linguists, in this case, will be crucial. The northern coast of Somalia, the Eritrean coast and the ancient port of Adulis are key areas for understanding cultural changes occurred in the Horn of Africa during antiquity. The research focuses on contacts and exchanges that occurred along the Red Sea, on the study of the maritime landscape and material culture; comparisons among ancient and traditional maritime cultures are also considered. The main scope of the team is to investigate, from an archaeological point of view, the areas of cultural hybridization and those of identity manifestations. To this end, artifacts are studied both in their technological and typological/stylistic characterization, aimed at the identification of production areas, use(s) and spatial distribution.
- Ilaria Incordino, Chiara Zazzaro, Andrea Manzo, Rodolfo Fattovich and Luisa Sernicola - UNO, Naples.

9) "Peripheries of the Empire. The role of the peoples of the Horn of Africa in the vision of the Roman world (I-VII AC)".
During the first 7 centuries of our era all the Mediterranean imperial cultures which met the peoples of the Horn of Africa tried to assimilate or modify their identity and culture for their own purposes, above all economic. The analysis of this centre-periphery dialectic will bring to an interesting reflection on the concept of imperialism.
- Dario Nappo - Unito, Turin.

10) "Construction of the linguistic and cultural identity of the Okiek of Kenya".
The Okiek language, which belongs to the Kalenjin family, already not well documented per se, represents still today a black hole in African linguistic studies. Its description could thus bring to the light some fresh data on a linguistic family about which we really lack information. At the same time, the analysis of the Okiek culture, in a moment of transition from a hunting-gathering way of life in the forest, to a new style, made of agriculture, beekeeping and farming, can be precious for the study of the adaptive dynamics used by a HG people in an ecological context completely new, due to an exaggerated exploitation of natural resources and climate changes.
- Ilaria Micheli - Units, Trieste.

11) "African aromata in Pharaonic Egypt: cultural and commercial exchanges".
The study of the ancient Egyptian natural world and its classification has been conducted in the last decades with an innovative approach involving new technologies of analysis and a multidisciplinary general view (ethnolinguistics, geobotanics). Following this trend the main focus of the research is the interpretation of five aromatic products (ti-Sps, mnnn, ihmt, XsAyt, hbny) which Egypt imported from south (Nubia, Punt, Arabia, Horn of Africa) through the iconographic and textual analysis of the related documents. The epigraphic analysis will explore possible linguistic links between ancient Egyptian and other African ancient languages, in order to identify the most likely source for these raw materials. The collaboration with the linguistics experts of the ATrA project will be of a fundamental importance for this aspect; while the iconographic investigation will be intended to better define the Egyptian way of represent the 'foreign' world and the value of its products according to the outline of Egyptian religiosity and Pharaonic ideology.
- Ilaria Incordino - UNO, Naples.