Baraza Comes to an End

After having taken a hiatus from regular production, the editorial leadership of Baraza has decided to discontinue the website as an ongoing project. The content produced over the nearly five years of collaboration will be preserved in the Fall of 2016.

Baraza started as the articulation of the desire by graduate students of the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University to think through the intellectual, cultural, and political possibilities of a fledgling institutional arrangement that identified a portion of the world whose vastness was rivaled only by its diversity. Distinct histories, different languages, and dissimilar disciplines threated to create distance and dissonance among us. But we decided to emphasize shared histories of experience and exchange as well as focusing on the theoretical unity of studying regions that have been subject to colonial rule from within the American Academy. We decided that experimenting in a medium often not associated with reflection was an important part of both expanding the reach of our research and thinking as well as opening up the institution to a wider base of participation and engagement.

Since then, Baraza has taken many forms but it always reflected the same activity. This activity was one of reflection, collaboration, and experimentation by a network of students, teachers, institutions, journalists, and artists. While we were always ambitious, this self-directed pedagogical activity taught us far more than what we imagined as well as developed working relationships and camaraderie we couldn’t have foreseen. Accordingly, we feel that Baraza was a success and we are happy in knowing that beyond Baraza, that activity continues as we carry the skills acquired and insights earned.

We would like to express a deep gratitude for the Department’s generous moral and material support of the project. The Center for Digital Research and Scholarship at Columbia deserves a special note of gratitude for its technical assistance and encouragement.  Finally, Baraza would have been nothing without the contribution of time, energy, and ideas of contributors on campus and from around the world.

About Wendell Marsh

Wendell Hassan Marsh is a doctoral student in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies and the Institute of Comparative Literature and Society. His work lies at the intersection of the study of Islam in Africa, Arabic written culture, and intellectual history. Specifically, his research interrogates the African Islamic library as a locus of knowledge production and circulation