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The Future of Africa’s Past: Establishing the first Professorship of the Deep History and Archaeology of Africa

last modified May 23, 2017 11:12 AM
The Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge University is immensely grateful to the Jonathan and Jennifer Oppenheimer Foundation for a generous benefaction which will endow a new high-level research post: the Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Professorship of the Deep History and Archaeology of Africa.
The Future of Africa’s Past: Establishing the first Professorship of the Deep History and Archaeology of Africa

Image credit: NASA

There is no ‘pre-‘ to the history of Africa. Here, humanity first emerged and developed over a greater time-depth than anywhere else on the planet. Much of its remarkable past still remains to be discovered and understood.

The Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge University is immensely grateful to the Jonathan and Jennifer Oppenheimer Foundation for a generous benefaction which will endow a new high-level research post: the Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Professorship of the Deep History and Archaeology of Africa.

The core focus of the Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Professorship will be to lead ambitious research projects and teaching initiatives that will advance and expand our understanding of humanity’s deep-time to more recent history across the continent of Africa, with particular focus on sub-Saharan regions; areas which as of yet have been significantly understudied. He or she will also work to extend Cambridge’s already broad network of archaeological collaborators in Africa, partnering with institutions to build in-country research capacity.

Professor Cyprian Broodbank, Head of the Division of Archaeology, commented, “the new Professorship will help lead the world in forging a new understanding of Africa’s past, and in shaping a dynamic future built upon the continent’s unique history, cultural heritage and achievements.”

Future generations of Africans will be empowered and trained with the tools to write their own deep histories.

Professor Cyprian Broodbank, Head of the Division of Archaeology

“The Professor will engage with leading institutions and sites of archaeological importance across the continent not only to push forward the bounds of our knowledge using the latest scientific technologies and ideas, but also to work with communities to promote the protection and interpretation of their material heritage.”

“Future generations of Africans will be empowered and trained with the tools to write their own deep histories,” Professor Broodbank concluded.

It is with thanks to key volunteers for the project that the Professorship will also be named the Mandela Magdalene Memorial Fellow at Magdalene College in memory of Nelson Mandela, who was an Honorary Fellow of the College. Magdalene College has a proud tradition of association with Africa and this Fellowship will ensure the Professor joins a vibrant community of scholars and students undertaking research across the continent’s varied history and present.

Dr Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene, commented: “The College is delighted to continue its association with the memory of Africa’s greatest modern leader. We are committed as a College to doing what we can to promote his vision for Africa’s future by supporting as fully as we can the next generation of African scholars, teachers and thinkers, and we look forward enormously to this exciting new appointment.”

It is with thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Jonathan and Jennifer Oppenheimer Foundation that the successful applicant will be able to take up the post in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology as early as Spring 2018.

 

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