Dr. Paul Naylor

Dr. Paul Naylor

Cataloger of West African Manuscripts


Dr. Paul Naylor

Dr. Paul Naylor is a Cataloger of West African Manuscripts. He joined HMML in 2020. A native of England, he holds degrees from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and Goldsmiths, both part of the University of London. In 2018, Naylor earned his PhD in African Studies from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, during which time he was awarded the Bradbury and Ashley Prizes for his PhD studies.

Naylor has lectured and published in North America and Europe on African Arabic script manuscripts and his book From Rebels to Rulers: Writing Legitimacy in the Sokoto State was published with James Currey in August 2021.

Before coming to HMML, he was an adjunct professor in the History Department at Loyola University, Chicago. Naylor’s career highlights include cataloging the British Library’s collection of Arabic script manuscripts from West Africa and providing curatorial assistance with their major 2016 public exhibition West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song, leading a Working with African Arabic Script Manuscripts workshop hosted by the African Studies Program, Northwestern University, Chicago, and course instruction on Islamic history and Islam in Africa at Tulane University, New Orleans, and Loyola University, Chicago.

At HMML Naylor works closely with the Eastern Christian cataloging team and metadata librarian cataloging collection items from Timbuktu’s SAVAMA-DCI (a French acronym for Association for the Protection and Promotion of Manuscripts and the Defense of Islamic Culture) project to facilitate public access to HMML’s online resources.

What he enjoys most about his work: “The chance to be at the “front end” of knowledge production in my academic field and spend time with others who are passionate about manuscripts and manuscript studies.”

Stories by Dr. Paul Naylor

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