University of Cambridge > > Department of Archaeology - Garrod seminar series > Decolonising Archaeological Practice Beyond Community Engagement: towards a theory of the future

Decolonising Archaeological Practice Beyond Community Engagement: towards a theory of the future

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  • UserProf Innocent Pikirayi, University of Pretoria
  • ClockThursday 13 May 2021, 16:00-17:30
  • HouseZoom.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Lydia Clough.

In 2016, Peter Schmidt and I published an edited volume on decolonizing archaeological practice in Africa. Coincidentally, this was on the eve of some of the most violent student protests in South Africa, which called for, among other things, a decolonization of universities and knowledge production in Africa. While contributors to the volume emphasized the need to integrate local and descendant communities in archaeological practice, we may not have provided a definitive answer to what constitutes a decolonized archaeology in an African context. In this seminar, I discuss decolonization in terms of epistemology, pedagogy and methodology, to better articulate contemporary archaeological theory, communicate the discipline to non-specialists, and, to rethink approaches that are appropriate when collecting data. Since decolonisation invokes matters theoretical, I loosely employ Rosemary Joyce’s Languages of Archaeology (2002) to provide a critical examination of the relationship between archaeology and the approaches used to communicate to non-professionals. Since archaeologists work with communities, I go beyond this and call upon a theory of the future that premise many “realities,” congruent with historical experiences, languages, and habitus. I pose the question whether archaeologists can recognize and draw upon local as well as Western realities in working towards inference towards best explanation and conclude by stressing that listening to our peers in other societies strengthens archaeological practices and interpretations of data.

This presentation will be on Zoom.

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This talk is part of the Department of Archaeology - Garrod seminar series series.

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