February 16, 2004

Where I get my information

Three of my readers, Aidan Kehoe over here, Brad here, and a new commenter, Mukendi Kakesu Kazumba, here, who is a descendant of the pre-colonial Luba state which, IIRC, was mostly in what is now Kasaï in the central DRC, have all asked where I get the information for some of my recent posts. With some shame, I have to admit it's mostly the Internet.

[Warning - a small spoiler ahead]

I don't think Grandpa's narrative will be taking us east of Tshikapa. He worked mostly around Kikwit. As a result, I don't know too much about the Baluba. I know that Tshiluba is the main vehicular language in Kasaï, and I presume it's origins are something like Kituba's.

I know a little about the Lunda, who also ran a federal state with a regional separation of powers and who I think are believed to have started as a separatist movement within the Luba kingdom. They had, in contrast to Kongolese spiritual control over succession, a sort of rotating presidency like the EU has.

As for my sources - memory, enhanced by a lot of web-based fact-checking (which sometimes goes wrong) ; Wikipedia, which is an increasingly important web resource; the only book I was able to find about the Kikongo language at FNAC - which is pretty weak on language, and bits I remember from research done years ago. I took a trip to the Africa Museum in Tervuren, which will feature lightly in the next post, but wasn't too informative.

I'm ashamed to admit that I use the web a lot, but without a real library on hand, it's what I've got to work with. So, I should be fact-checked before repeating.

Posted 2004/02/16 22:12 (Mon) | TrackBack

Hey, there's nothing wrong with using the web for reference. (As long as you're aware of the impermanence of links and any biases of the people you're reading, but the latter applies to all souces, and I'm sure you're fully concious of both.)

It's strange that sourcing material in Belgium is difficult--one would think that it would be well served on these issues. I suppose it's probably a matter of knowing where to go.

Posted by: Aidan Kehoe at February 17, 2004 11:20

I use the web a lot as a reference. European medievalists have put a lot of primary sources on the web (stuff that's been out of print for years, which I used to have to use ILL for since Icouldn't afford the $300.00 used copy).

My rule has been that for my primary interests the web isn't too useful (since I but all the good books that my library doesn't), but that for peripheral interests it's amazing. Since my work tends toward moving outward and generalization, the net is a major resource for me.

Posted by: john emerson / zizka at February 21, 2004 23:39
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