History, archaeology, and memory work in African contexts

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  • Documents (10)

  • Arboreal Historical Anchors: Sacred Forests and Memory Making in Southern Benin, West Africa (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Neil Norman.

    The Bight of Benin region is well known as a locale filled with poignant places associated with the trans-Atlantic trade in enslaved individuals. This paper follows recent efforts in the region aimed at writing landscape features into deeper historic narratives and exploring them in terms of broader political and economic processes.  In so doing, it pushes beyond coastal points of loss and into dynamic cosmopolitan interior places.  It argues that the historical and archaeological arc of...

  • Archaeology, Cosmology and African Ritual Past. Perspectives from Yikpabongo, Koma Land, Northern Region, Ghana (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Benjamin Kankpeyeng.

    The legacies of the slave trade in northern Ghana recognized in the traditions/memories of peoples of the area include vanished communities within vast territories today represented by archaeological assemblages. These archaeological regions suffered from raids resulting in the enslavement or dispersal of the inhabitants. Koma Land is located within such an archaeological region and contains unique mounds with insightful information for understanding the cosmological beliefs of the populations...

  • Cultural heritage, history and memory in the context of Madagascar (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Chantal Radimilahy.

    Cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, distinguishes a nation. Culture is patent in everyday life, through the various activities that man performs, language, traditions, rituals, beliefs it conveys, all the objects he uses. With modernity and globalization, this heritage, its history and memory, is greatly endangered and degrades rapidly. Among different reasons such as ignorance, indifference, destruction, theft, illicit trafficking of cultural property, natural disasters, failure in the...

  • Fuzziness of Autonomy and Vassality: Materiality of History in OrileKesi during the Oyo Imperial Age, ca. 1640-1827 (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only James Bamidele Odunbaku.

    To paraphrase, Akin Ogundiran has posed the question: How did the political contestations between the Oyo imperial power and the frontier communities affect the everyday life of the later, especially the villages and towns located in the frontier zones? An historical archaeological approach that melds oral traditions and ethnography with material culture is being utilized by a number of scholars, working independently at different sites in the Yoruba region (Nigeria), to find answers to this...

  • In the Shadow of Roots: History, Memory and Archaeology in The Gambia (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Liza Gijanto.

    The legacy of Roots on Gambia is the alteration of memory and history.  Haley’s tale and seemingly academic use of documentary and oral histories lent credibility to his story, resulting in the novel replacing previous collective memory of Juffure’s founding and its Atlantic past.  As a result of the rise in African Diaspora tourism in Gambia following the novel’s publication, a national identity emerged dependent on the persona of Kunta Kinte and victimization through the slave trade.  This is...

  • The Inscribed Word vs. the Spoken Word in African History and Archaeology (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Peter Schmidt.

    Pierre Nora got it wrong when he drew a distinction between inscribed history and social memory. By making this unfortunate dichotomy he unwittingly amplified a long standing separation between the written word and the spoken word in history making. The writings of F. Lwamgira in NW Tanzania provide a poignant study from which insights emerge about the speciousness of such distinctions. Lwamgira's writings take on an authoritative quality by becoming materially inscribed representations of Haya...

  • Migrations, Dissonance and Unsettled History:  The Case of the Kenya Luo (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Paul J Lane.

    A common feature of many of the indigenous oral traditions documented by the first generation of historians of pre-colonial Africa is the emphasis they place on the migration of different distinctly bounded ethnic groups, or ‘tribes’, from an idealised homeland. Most archaeological approaches to the use of oral and linguistic data such as these, have simply tried to use oral traditions of migration as literal guides to the likely location of settlements associated with different phases of an...

  • Patterns of settlement changes in colonial Cameroon: a theoretical approach. (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Martin ELOUGA.

    The theoretical basis of historical archaeology in Cameroon is being set down. Ongoing research in this field focusses on the formative period, european hegemony and the decolonisation of Cameroon. Despite the availability of abundant historical data related to the recent past of Cameroon, questions still come up to which research must find answers: the processes of state formation, subsistence activities and their environmental impact, the relationships between social groups and the reshaping...

  • Perception and Conceptions: Historical Archaeology in the East Midlands and East Africa in the 1950's (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Merrick Posnansky.

    This paper reviews the birth of Historical Archaeology in the 1950's at a time when archaeology as a university and research discipline was in its infancy. Archaeology  was then largely conceived as embracing prehistoric, Classical and the archaeology of great civilizations. Though historical archaeology was undertaken in a limited form it was shunned professionally as it was felt that the archaeological method was less relevant than an historical or antiquarian material approach. This papers...

  • Telling the African story through ‘western eyes’? (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ndukuyakhe Ndlovu.

    Prior to the art of writing, memory and oral presentation were amongst the tactics by which history was preserved in people’s minds, whether of the same generation or those who were still younger. This never nor was it intended to reflect the truthful and objective version, as truth does not exist. However, history was always told from the platform of power and dominance within the society.  Following modernisation, the integral part of the African way of life has taken a backseat. Rather than...