Date: Thursday, April 29, 10:00 AM (US Central Time) on Zoom


  1. Onookome Okome, University of Alberta
  2. Elspeth Healey, University of Kansas Libraries
  3. Daniel Rebossin, University of Florida Libraries
  4. Ken Lohrentz, formerly of University of Kanas Libraries

Moderator: Liz MacGonagle, Kansas African Studies Center

In the context of the growing African digital humanities initiatives at the University of Kansas, this panel discussion is based on the digitization of the Onitsha pamphlets by libraries around the world and speaks specifically to the significance of the pamphlets as digital materials. Onitsha market literary pamphlets, integral texts of African popular literature, refer to a body of stories, plays, didactic discourses, and other publications produced by local presses in 1960s Onitsha in Nigeria. These important works emerged as symbolic expressions of the immense social and economic change taking place in the years before and after political independence from British rule and enhances our understanding of the modernizing dynamics of the period.

The Onitsha Collection in the Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas (KU) is one of several digital archives of the pamphlets in the US and offers a unique assemblage that represents some of the most representative works in market literary tradition in Africa. During this panel, librarians from the University of Kansas and the University of Florida will speak to the making of the collections from their respective institutions, highlighting the processes of collecting and digitizing their present archives. Other speakers will also reflect on the cultural significance and aesthetic value of the pamphlets from a non-digital context, focusing on the important role of market literature as texts of Nigerian popular culture.