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Department of Archaeology

Thursday, 15 October, 2020 - 16:00 to 17:30
Event speaker: 
Dr Abidemi Babatunde Babalola, University of Cambridge

The view of backward Africa incapable of creativity is still being peddled even within academia. Scholars who promote such erroneous views define innovation and invention as grand phenomena restricted to a particular group of people from some regions of the globe, which exclude Africa. This narrative fails to recognize and appreciate innovation and its adaptive nature at the micro societal/regional level. In this presentation, I will first discuss the genesis of the discriminatory notion of a dark Africa that lacks creativeness and how this idea has been sustained and pervaded in contemporary time. Did Africans create or invent sophisticated technology? Using the example of early indigenous glass production and other high-temperature technologies in sub-Saharan, the lecture provides insight into this question. It argues that significant attention needs to be directed toward understanding the intricacies of early African technologies, especially at the micro societal/regional scale, to provide a new interpretation and narrative that showcases African's creativity and inventiveness.

Dr Abidemi Babatunde Babalola is the Smuts Research Fellow in African Studies, Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge and a Fellow of McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

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