University of Cambridge > > Centre of African Studies Michaelmas Seminars > Sermonizing on Archaeology and Heritage Studies in Post Colonial Sub Saharan Africa

Sermonizing on Archaeology and Heritage Studies in Post Colonial Sub Saharan Africa

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This presentation is a reminiscence of close to four decades involvement in research and teaching in African Archaeology and Heritage Studies. The intent is to highlight some aspects of the trajectories of the development of Archaeology and Heritage Studies emphasizing the colonial antecedents in theories, methods and practice leading on to the establishment of African Studies programmes in African universities at independence and the rise of Afrocentrists reactions to Eurocentrists interpretations of African history arising from the use of imported theories. Ironically, theories such as the diffusionist theory had been challenged and unwittingly endorsed by Afrocentrists. The view being expressed here is for African Archaeology to move away from what I would describe as the justification for the African past and face the urgent needs of the present which include a proper understanding of the African archaeological data and the protection of archaeological, historic and cultural sites which are today objects of criminal neglect. Put in other words, Archaeology in Africa today should go beyond the deconstruction of the colonial narratives and establish the relevance of the discipline to the continent. Experiences from field research in the Benue Valley, Ijaye, Old Oyo and Benin among others as well as interventions at several international fora would be used to illustrate the stated positions.

This talk is part of the Centre of African Studies Michaelmas Seminars series.

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