African Habits: Archaeology of the Saint Joseph Mission, ca. 1863-1940 (Ngasobil, Senegal)

Author(s): Johanna A. Pacyga

Year: 2020


This is a paper/report submission presented at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Mission archaeology often identifies a dichotomy between missionaries and indigenous populations. This dynamic is complicated in the case of nineteenth-century French missionization in Senegal where local converts were increasingly relied upon as missionaries themselves. Drawing on archaeological and archival research, this paper focuses on the African Daughters of the Holy Heart of Mary—the first sub-Saharan order of nuns—and their work as nurses, catechists, teachers, and cultural mediators at Saint Joseph’s. The archaeological record reflects their melding of African and European social, domestic, and religious practices. Although the order was dedicated to localized self-sufficiency, a particular assemblage of imported objects reflects local entanglement with the political economy of empire and French domestic values. Objects associated with foodways and personal adornment form the basis of this inquiry into the ways in which women and girls represented and ordered themselves, as well as how they (re)produced a distinctly Senegalese Catholic community.

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African Habits: Archaeology of the Saint Joseph Mission, ca. 1863-1940 (Ngasobil, Senegal). Johanna A. Pacyga. 2020 ( tDAR id: 457361)

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Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 558