The collective inquiries in this volume address ethnicity in ancient Africa as social fact and political artifact along numerous dimensions. Is ethnicity a useful analytic? What can archaeology say about the kinds of deeper time questions which scholars have asked of identities in Africa? Eleven authors engage with contemporary anthropological, historical and archaeological perspectives to examine how ideas of self-understanding, belonging, and difference in Africa were made and unmade. They examine how these intersect with other salient domains of social experience: states, landscapes, discourses, memory, technology, politics, and power. The various chapters cover broad geographic and temporal ground, following an arc across Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and East Africa, spanning from prehistory to the colonial period.
"This publication is another welcome addition to the growing literature on the social archaeology of Africa, a theoretically-informed perspective that has in the last few decades displaced the cultural history concerns that had previously dominated archaeological scholarship in the region." - John P. McCarthy, RPA, Delaware State Parks
"This book provides the reader both an impressive amount of literature and the possibility to select the elements from the texts that are applicable to his/her own work and to link it together to build his/her own critical thoughts on the topic." - Anthony Grégoire, Anthropology Book Forum