Book Collecting in Timbuktu

Date: 5 October 2022
Time: 4:15–5:45 p.m. ET
Location: Online via Zoom and in person at Williams College
Presented by: M. C. Lang Fellows in Book History, Bibliography, and Humanities Teaching with Historical Sources

Everyone is invited to “Book Collecting in Timbuktu,” a free public lecture by Prof. Shamil Jeppie (University of Cape Town) that surveys five centuries of collecting in Timbuktu, a town in the interior of West Africa that has come to symbolize a larger world of learning and book culture in the region. This lecture follows citations in texts written in the town in the sixteenth century, book borrowing and copying, through to a major collector of the early twentieth century who both attempted to conserve the manuscript book tradition and imported printed books to Timbuktu.

Shamil Jeppie is associate professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and the founder of The Tombouctou Manuscripts Project, which explores the formation of a culture of collecting in Timbuktu.

The lecture is scheduled for Wednesday, 5 October 2022, 4:15–5:45 p.m. ET, at Williams College, Griffin Hall Rm. 3, 844 Main St, Williamstown, MA 01267. No advance registration is required for this free, public event. The event will also be livestreamed via Zoom: click here to access the link. A reception in honor of the speaker is to follow in the Williams College Chapin Gallery, Sawyer Library 406 (26 Hopkins Hall Dr, Williamstown, MA 01267) from 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. ET. The reception is free and open to all.

“Book Collecting in Timbuktu” is part of a series in the Greater Albany, New York, area entitled “Diversifying Collections”—a collaboration among four institutions in the greater Albany area: Hamilton College, the College of Saint Rose, Skidmore College, and Williams College. The series will unfold during the 2022–23 year across all four campuses. Events will take place in person, in hybrid format, and remotely. The series is generously sponsored by the M. C. Lang Fellowship in Book History, Bibliography, and Humanities Teaching with Historical Sources at Rare Book School at the University of Virginia, among other funding bodies.