New Directions in African Diaspora Archaeology

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  • Documents (9)

  • "Africa" in Connecticut (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Croucher.

    In this paper I discuss how archaeological interpretations of nineteenth century free black communities can be strengthened when Africa as a discursive concept is included alongside our analyses of race. In the southern U.S. historical archaeologists have long been attuned to the tangible material presence of enslaved Africans and their descendants. I address the question of "Africa" in relation to nineteenth century free communities of color in Connecticut, arguing that the discursive nature of...

  • The African Diaspora in West Africa: The Atlantic Slave Trade and Colonial Eras on the Gambia River (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Liza Gijanto.

    The Gambia River was an active site of the Atlantic slave trade and British efforts to legitimize trade in the 19th century.  African peoples were brought from the Gold Coast and Sierra Leone as part of different commercial and colonial ventures while others were sent to the Americas as enslaved. Geographically part of the African Diaspora as both a site of departure and settlement, this paper explores African populations resettled along the river as slaves and liberated Africans in the 18th and...

  • Archaeology and the Changing Landscape of Community in a Colonial Capital; The Banjul Heritage Project (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Platt. Liza Gijanto.

    Banjul was founded in 1816 as part of the British efforts to block the slave trade on the Gambia River.  A planned urban center, the city developed around a series of neighborhoods designated as colonial, merchant, and African laborer spaces.  Amongst the most prominent settlers were the Aku from Sierra Leone and French traders from Goree who were instrumental in the growth of the colonial economy.  In preparation for the 200th anniversary of the city in 2016, the Banjul Heritage Project seeks...

  • Bead trade in the latter Atlantic world: A case study of 19th century sites in The Gambia, West Africa (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elizabeth A. McCague. Liza Gijanto.

    The Gambia River was a frontline of Atlantic trade among European merchants in the Atlantic world, particularly in regards to the exchange of glass beads established to promote commercial interactions with the local population. Though the 19th century marks the decline of the era on the Gambia River, the trends seen in the bead trade highlight the lasting implications of colonial involvements. This paper will address bead assemblages from Juffure, Berefet, and the colonial capital of Banjul...

  • Degrees of Freedom: Emancipated and Self-Emancipated People in Indiana and Kenya in the 19th Century (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lydia Wilson Marshall.

    This paper uses two geographically disparate case studies to explore the roles of freedom and coercion in the lives of emancipated and self-emancipated people.  Comparative archaeologies of freedom have much to teach us about the robust and enduring legacies of slavery.  In mid- to late  19th-century Kenya, runaways (in Swahili, watoro) established independent settlements in the hinterlands after escaping enslavement on the coast.  In 1879, hundreds of so-called "Exodusters"— African-American...

  • Objects past, objects present: materials, resistance and memory from the Le Morne Old Cemetery, Mauritius (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Krish Seetah.

    The body of literature on slave artefacts and consumptive waste highlight the nuances and complexity of slave life-ways. Despite this, these represent small concessions traded against much greater losses, with the notion of ‘social death’ poignantly expressing a slave’s inevitable disconnect from ancestral practices. Allied to this, but fundamentally different, is the development of numerous syncretic belief systems that have their origins in a marriage between African and European faiths. Thus,...

  • On Cudjo’s Pipe: Smoking Dialogs in Diasporic Space (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Neil Norman.

    As a survivor of the last slaver to make the Atlantic crossing and a community leader in the Jim Crow-era American South of Mobile Alabama, Cudjo Lewis stands as an iconic diasporic figure.  We know of Cudjo’s life on both sides of the Atlantic from extensive interviews by Zora Neale Hurston, local historians, and reporters from the New York Times.  These reports describe a sullen patriarchal figure who spent the last years of his life morning the death of his children and the impossibility of...

  • Trade Winds and Rich Red Soil: Memory and Collective Heritage at Millars Settlement, Eleuthera, Bahamas (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Whitney Battle-Baptiste.

    In 1783, following the American Revolution, the British government resettled thousands of Loyalists throughout the Bahamas. The mostly American-born Loyalists brought in captivity, a large population of American-born African descent peoples and were given Bahamian land grants to establish a cotton plantation economy. Cotton never faired well and most plantations shifted toward subsistence activities and basic needs until slavery ended in 1838.  Although former plantation owners and emancipated...

  • ‘When the King breaks a town, he builds another’: Space, Politics, and Gerrymandered Identities in Precolonial Dahomey (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only James Monroe.

    Scholars have long argued that sub-Saharan Africa in the era of the slave trade was dominated by ethnically distinct communities whose members underwent the process of creolization after being displaced to the New World. Archaeological research across West Africa, however, is challenging this notion, revealing how West African cultural identity transformed in response to intersecting economic, political, and cultural forces unleashed by trans-Atlantic commerce.  This paper examines the political...