African Political Ephemera Digital Collection
I’m really excited about a new collection at the University of Oregon libraries: The African Political Ephemera and Realia Project.
The African Political Ephemera and Realia Project is an online collection of ephemeral material – pamphlets, t-shirts, cloths, posters, to name just a few examples – that documents the material culture of politics in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ephemeral political material often does not find its way into institutional collections either because the material is discarded before it draws the attention of collectors, because it is too popular and mass-produced to merit consideration as art, or because it does not fit easily (either physically or intellectually) into the book- and manuscript-based realm of libraries. The African Political Ephemera Project hopes to focus attention on the significance of ephemeral political material as cultural artifacts that document both the political processes and the social and cultural forces at work in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Now I feel like all those crazy t-shirts and fabrics I have collected with faces of politicians on them will finally be appreciated. My guilty pleasure when conducting research in African countries is going on the hunt for such things.
The collection already looks like a great place to search for images, and I like that the images are licensed under a Creative Commons License.” (FYI: Acknowledgment of the University of Oregon Libraries as a source is required.)
Please, if you have material that could be photographed and added to the collection, contact John Russell, the History and African Studies Librarian at the University of Oregon who is coordinating this incredible effort.
Below is a preview of what you’ll find: