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Department of Archaeology

Tuesday, 8 December, 2020 - 17:00 to 18:00
Event speaker: 
Prof Ibrahima Thiaw (Unité de Recherche en Ingénierie culturelle et en Anthropologie, Laboratoire d'Archéologie, IFAN - Université Cheikh A. Diop, Dakar)

This is a live Q&A session based on the lecture given by Prof Ibrahima Thiaw, hosted by the African Archaeology Group.

The pre-recorded lecture is available here:

Registration link to the Live Q&A Session, December 8th, at 5pm (GMT):

Recent fieldwork in the Cap Verde Peninsula in coastal Senegal has revealed important archaeological and heritage sites that were directly linked to the Atlantic slave trade. The violence, fear and anxiety of that time ushered Lebu and Safen communities of the 18th century to manipulate the landscape to resist to Wolof warlords and Europeans powers. The residual affects of that difficult past still linger in the present and are transmitted relationally albeit transformed. Building on recent global protests against racism, violence, injustice and inequity and, their entanglements with Atlantic slavery, anthropological knowledge production and colonization, this presentation revisits recent sites’ renaming controversies at the World Heritage site of Gorée Island and, at the designated area for a New Port near Dakar that both expose old wounds among various stakeholders. It is argued that there is urgent need for Africanist archaeologists and heritage professionals to break away from colonial essentialisms, top-bottom approaches, exigencies from extroverted consumers and agendas neatly disguised in “universal heritage” à la UNESCO whose cosmopolitan sensibility is prone to deafness about differences, race and inequality. Finally, through community engagement, I explore more equitable problem-solving strategies through performances that locally brand archaeology and heritage practices primarily for local consumption.


Contact name: 
Nicolas Nikis
Contact email: 
Event location:
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