Historical Archaeology in Africa: Representation, Social Memory, and Oral Traditions - African Archaeology Series (Paperback)
  • Historical Archaeology in Africa: Representation, Social Memory, and Oral Traditions - African Archaeology Series (Paperback)
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Historical Archaeology in Africa: Representation, Social Memory, and Oral Traditions - African Archaeology Series (Paperback)

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£32.95
Paperback 240 Pages / Published: 11/08/2006
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Historical Archaeology in Africa is an inquiry into the questions that count, proposing different ways of thinking about historical archaeology. Peter Schmidt challenges readers to expand their horizons beyond the ethnocentrism of archaeology, as it is defined and practiced in North America. Confronting topics of oral traditions, our orientation to archaeology, and the misrepresentation of various cultures, Schmidt calls for a new pathway to an enriched, more nuanced, and more inclusive historical archaeology.

Publisher: AltaMira Press,U.S.
ISBN: 9780759109650
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 526 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
A tour de force! Historical Archaeology in Africa is the work of an extremely fertile and imaginative mind. Schmidt shows here as he has before why he is a complete scholar. . . We finally have a book that does what it sets out to do: integrate the disciplines, interrogate ways of seeing and writing history, critique both native and non-native scientific perspectives, and engage indigenous voices in a marvelous and seamless narrative. This is a book about African historical experiences that is at once relevant to humanities experiences. . . a must for everyone interested in truly understanding ways of seeing and reading archaeological and historical experiences. . . an inclusive book that will benefit both the humanities and social sciences. -- Chapurukha M. Kusimba, Curator and Professor of Anthropology, The Field Museum, University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University
Peter Schmidt is an archaeologist for the 21st century. He has a keen awareness of the role of politics in reconstructions of the past and the role of these reconstructions in constructions of the present. He recognizes the boundary between intellectual honesty and irresponsible relativism, and accepts the responsibility entailed by the privileged position American archaeologists occupy in the world. In this book Schmidt explains the ethical imperative of historical archaeology, repositioning it more centrally within debates about heritage and colonialism. Schmidt's research expands what we know about human possibility, both in the past and in the present. In this period when there is much being said about collaborative and community based archaeology, Schmidt is one of the few scholars who really understands not only why but how this should be done. -- Anne Pyburn, Indiana University
Historical Archaeology in Africa is wonderfully insightful, methodologically innovative, and conceptually stimulating work that deserves the attention of all archaeologists working on the material record of the more recent past. One of the few Africanist archaeologists trained in historiography, Schmidt has pioneered innovative approaches to the study of the African past for more than thirty years. In this substantive work he revisits the goals and objectives of historical archaeology and places the field within the wider disciplinary frameworks of both anthropology and history. -- Chris DeCorse, Syracuse University
Based on a mastery of the archaeology and oral history of eastern Africa, particularly of the kingdoms of North Western Tanzania, Professor Peter Schmidt has provided an essentially new definition for African Historical archaeology. In a skillfully nuanced understanding of social and cultural interactions he has dealt with the multiple meanings of memory, space and technology in sophisticated pre-colonial societies. Schmidt opens up African historical archaeology to a far longer time depth than hitherto imagined and presents future researchers with both the tools for discovering and supplementing archaeological evidence and for adding an interpretative texture for our appreciation of Africa's recent past from a strictly African perspective. -- Merrick Posnansky, University of California, Los Angeles
Schmidt discusses a research methodology of historical archaeology that he employs using oral narratives of indigenous communities as an important part of the historical record, instead of emphasizing the written record or Western-based colonial methods. Describing this as "African based archaeology," Schmidt emphasizes how the consideration of oral histories and local legends or mythology can be a vital component of research for historical archaeologists when investigating sites. Archaeologists can miss important clues in the interpretation of material or social culture by not involving the local communities, or by investigating from a specifically ethnocentric research method. This very readable work is a vital text for researchers studying communities steeped in oral traditions. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Researchers of Africanist archaeology or history, upper-division undergraduates and above * CHOICE *
Schmidt's work not only provides key insights to method in African archaeology, but also challenges historical archaeologists working throughout the world to utilize a wide variety of sources when interpreting the past as well as to move beyond the imposed prehistoric/historic period dichotomy as advocated by Lightfoot (1995) and others working in North America. -- Liza Gijanto * African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter, December 2007 *
This book is a very useful debating point for post-graduate seminars and anyone interested in the current arguments pertaining to the place of archaeology in post-colonial African history. -- . * H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online, April 2007 *
I would encourage anyone interested in issues concerning the production of archaeological knowledge in non-Western contexts, and the power relations that accompany this, to read this book. * Antiquity *

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