Open Access Book
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Postcolonial or Not? : West Africa in the Pre-Atlantic and Atlantic Worlds

Author: Christopher R. DeCorse
Source: Directory of Open Access Books
Publisher: IFRA-Nigeria
ISBN: 9791092312515


What do the labels “Historic period,” “historical archaeology,” and “Colonial” imply about the source materials drawn on, the time periods covered, and the conceptual vantages taken in interpre­ting the West African past? The historiographies presented are equally relevant to the understanding of the past—that is, the impacts of European contact, the Atlantic slave trade, and colo- nization—as they are to the present; the social, economic, and cultural landscapes of modernity, and how our views of the past shape these landscapes. This essay considers the varied episte­mological threads represented and their interpretive implica­tions. Although the hegemonic and transformative nature of Afri­ca's intersection with the Atlantic World is underscored, the need to situate these developments within the wider scope and tem­poral depth of the African past is also emphasized. Archaeology's central role in providing a holistic understanding of the temporal depth and complexity of African history, as well as archaeology's unique contribution to the understanding of the Atlantic world, is underscored.