In the Shadow of Roots: History, Memory and Archaeology in The Gambia

Author(s): Liza Gijanto

Year: 2013


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 most immediately seen in the presentation of the landscape and reappropriation of spaces to fit the geography of Roots and incorporate key aspects of diaspora destination tours such as the ‘door of no return.’   Within this setting, an interpretation of the archaeological record is at odds with current memory of the mainstream Gambian identity.  This paper addresses these tensions in the historiography of the Atlantic trade on the Gambia River.

Cite this Record

In the Shadow of Roots: History, Memory and Archaeology in The Gambia. Liza Gijanto. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428416)


Temporal Keywords
Atlantic World

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 249