foto: E. O̩mo̩lúàbí (2016)


Victor Manfredi

...studies the comparative grammar of the Benue‑Kwa languages of the Niger‑Congo family, and several indigenous cultures of the southern 9ja (or Nàìjá) area. Since 1980 he has taught about these subjects, mostly as a glorified temp (sounds nicer in Russian: kontráktnik), at a dozen universities in Nigeria, Europe and North America. At BU he has offered Ìgbo and Yorùbá (1993‑2000, 2006‑07), Syntax2 (1999‑2000) and Morphology (2006‑07) and served on six doctoral committees in syntax (defended in 1996, 1997, 2004, 2007, 2012, 2013 plus one each in ethnomusicology (2014) and history (Hurlbut 2020). He is currently a visiting researcher in BU African Studies Center.

In solidarity with the democratic struggle:

logo: Zakari Ahmadu (2012)

<3rd1st person> Click here for contact information, here for my RSA public key and here for more documents and streaming media. Some writing and primary research materials, plus descriptions of joint projects in demography, typography, parsing and surrogate speech, can be consulted via these links:

The following quotes express some general theses determining my work and attitude:

By an 'intelligentsia' — a Russian word, let it be noted — I am speaking not of what we call 'intellectuals' today who are well ensconced in universities, but [of] a footloose network of writers, artists, poets and professionals of all sorts, even actors (who formed an exceptionally close and visible community in cities such as Paris during the 18th and 19th centuries). Their absorption in recent years into the modern university system, with its many emoluments, has been one of the most costly blows to the development of present-day revolutionary movements.

Murray Bookchin, The Third Revolution; popular movements in the revolutionary era [Hathi Trust link], Vol. 1
ISBN 0304335940, Cassell, London, 1996, p. 15

The epistemological question for the social sciences was and has always been where its practitioners would stand in the battle of the two cultures. …Some of them pushed hard to be part of the scientistic camp, and some insisted on being part of the humanistic camp. …It is possible that the new epistemologically centripetal tendencies of the structures of knowledge may lead to a reunified epistemology (different from both of the two principal existing ones) and to what I think of, perhaps provincially, as the 'social scientization of all knowledge'.

Immanuel Wallerstein, European Universalism; the rhetoric of power [publisher page]
ISBN 1595580611, New Press, New York, 2006, pp. 65, 70

Si les États-Unis sont réellement exceptionnels, selon la vielle thématique tocquevillienne, c'est avant tout par leur dualisme rigide des divisions de l'ordre racial. C'est plus encore par leur capacité d'imposer comme universel ce qu'ils ont de plus particulier tout en faisant passer pour exceptionnel ce qu'ils ont de plus commun. [translation]

Pierre Bourdieu & Loïc Wacquant, Sur les ruses de la raison impérialiste [Persée portal]
Actes de recherche en sciences sociales 121/122 (1998), 109‑18, pp. 117f.

While it is good and commendable to record and document fading traditions, and in some cases this is absolutely necessary to avert total loss of cultural wealth, the greater goal must be that of safeguarding diversity in the world of people.

Ken Hale, Language endangerment and the human value of linguistic diversity [journal firewall]
Language 68 (1992), 35‑42, p. 41

Studying sideways, as a public anthropologist, presents a whole different set of challenges than studying down.

Adrienne Pine,, 4 June 2010

L'uso della bicicletta in città è un segno di civilità che significa rispetto di sé e degli altri, ma anche dell'ambiente storico‑sociale. Pianificare lo spazio per favorire la circolazione dei ciclisti è per me un imperativo politico, nel senso più alto del termine. [translation]
Marc Augé, Repubblica, 22 April 2012
(cf. Éloge de la bicyclette [publisher page], ISBN 2743621400, Rivages, Paris, 2010)

Cependant, la richesse ou la complexité des tableaux de correspondance que nous avons donnés avec cet imbroglio d'un même saint pour plusieurs orisha et de plusieurs [saints] pour le même [orisha], peut provoquer un malaise. N'existe-t-il pas un fil conducteur qui nous permette de mettre tout de même un peu d'ordre dans le chaos d'identifications contradictoires? [translation]

Roger Bastide, Les Religions Africaines au Brésil; vers une sociologie des interpenetrations de civilisations
Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1960, p. 373

[P]repare to be lucky… Columbo… an untidy, seemingly distracted detective… solved cases by poking around in a practiced but random fashion and stumbling in the direction of a solution. That's how it's done.

[N]on la teoria atomistica spiega la storia umana, ma viceversa… [translation]
Gramsci, Quaderno 11, 46 bis, 1932‑33
(= Quaderni del carcere, Einaudi, Torino, 1975, p. 1445)

Guarda le cose anche con gli occhi di quelli chi non le vedono più! [translation]
Pirandello, Colloqui coi personaggi (1915)

Es una de las paradojas más tristes de mi vida: casi todo lo que he escrito lo he escrito para alguien que no puede leerme, y este mismo libro no es otra cosa que la carta a una sombra. [translation]

Héctor Abad Faciolince, El Olvido que seremos [publisher page]
ISBN 9584215000, Editorial Planeta, Bogotá, 2006, p. 22

But who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists or are they the terrorists? …[S]ometimes it's not clear.

Anthony Dominick Benedetto a.k.a. Tony Bennett, radio interview, 20 September 2011

The spreading of a virus is not dissimilar to the spreading of political extremism. Many Italians have a way of living and thinking that under normal circumstances seems harmless: we are rather certain that we are safe, until the day when we wake up and see Mussolini standing on a balcony surrounded by a crew of adoring people. You don’t realize it until it happens, and, when it does happen, it will often take a war to get rid of it. We started off sending jokes about the coronavirus, and now here we are, with the Italian Army transporting caskets across the country because crematoria in the worst-hit areas are overwhelmed.

Marco Malvaldi, New Yorker [firewall suspended], 5 April 2020

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last updated
5 April 2020