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Chapter 1 interweaves the speech recordings of the Senegalese speaker Abdoulaye Niang with the history of acoustic recording as a practice of colonial knowledge production Germany. Holding these two strands together, the chapter challenges the tale of the Lautarchiv in Berlin as a result of the achievements of German linguists and the introduction of the phonograph. Abdoulaye Niang is presented as one of the makers of the archive. This decolonial strategy of listening allows us to hear Niang’s articulations of critique of French practices of conscripting soldiers to serve in World War I in Europe. His echo in the archive offers an occasion to discuss the performativity of voice in Wolof, something not addressed in the written documentation at the archive. The chapter introduces the practice of close listening and contrasts the depersonalization and dissociation of the recorded voice from the speakers in the process of colonial knowledge production. In Fragment III, Asmani ben Ahmad speaks in Kiswaheli of his travels in the region of the Comoro Islands.

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