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> Promising Young Artas Scholar, Rosanna Sirignano, Italy
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Artas continues to inspire scholars from near and far. This year the spotlight is on Rosanna Sirignano, a young Italian PhD candidate who is trying to keep alive the legacy of the renowned anthropologist Hilma Granqvist.
One of the aims of her research is to show that knowledge of Palestinian Arabic could be extended even through undirected sources. To this end, during her BA studies at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” she began her research by analysing Hilma Granqvist’s ethnographical works from a linguistic perspective. In 2009 in her BA thesis, “Tra dialettologia araba e antropologia: Hilma Graqnvist e il suo contributo alla conoscenza dell’arabo palestinese,” she analysed all the lexical material extracted from Hilma Granqvist’s published works. Through an article written by the anthropologist Shelagh Weir, Rosanna Sirignano found out that Granqvist’s research material was acquired by the Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF) of London. In the same article she found a detailed report on Granqvist’s material by Professor Emmanuel Marx, which allowed her to select the files more suitable for her following research work. During the summer of 2011, she visited the PEF and had the privilege of consulting Granqvist’s archive. She examined twenty-two of over seventy files and took more than five thousand photographs of the Arabic handwritten notes. Because of time constraints, she limited her MA research to the texts concerning Granqvist’s Birth and Childhood among the Arabs (1947) and Child Problems among the Arabs (1950). However, over four thousand pictures of the Arabic handwritten notes still need to be transcribed and analysed.
In 2013 she began her PhD at Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg under the supervision of one of the most estimated specialists of Colloquial Arabic, Dr. Prof. Werner Arnold. She is carrying out the transliteration, translation and analysis of Granqvist’s hitherto unexamined Arabic handwritten notes. In order to achieve complete and successful results, three years of study will probably be necessary, including some field research in Palestine. Sirignano is already in contact the Artas Folklore Center, founded in 1993 by Musa Sanad to provide a centre of research on Palestinian peasant culture, and she hopes to visit it soon.
Through Granqvist’s Arabic handwritten notes, it is possible to have invaluable information about Palestinian Arabic spoken by women before 1948 and to show the importance and beauty of women oral literature. Moreover, an accurate analysis of the handwritten notes could give interesting information about Granqvist’s relationship with her collaborators: Louise Baldensperger, Alya and Hamdiye.
Beyond giving a voice to the women of Arṭās, Granqvist’s work also speaks of people’s relationship to the earth and to their own freedom.
Sirignano’s publications :
Mother and Child in Palestine: the Arṭās material in Hilma Granqvist’s Nachlass at the Palestine Exploration Fund, Studi Interculturali 3/2013, pp. 159- 181, Mediterránea, Centro di Studi Interculturali, Trieste. (English)