Theory in Africa, Africa in Theory explores the place of Africa in archaeological theory, and the place of theory in African archaeology. The centrality of Africa to global archaeological thinking is highlighted, with a particular focus on materiality and agency in contemporary interpretation. As a means to explore the nature of theory itself, the volume also addresses differences between how African models are used in western theoretical discourse and the use of that theory within Africa. Providing a key contribution to theoretical discourse through a focus on the context of theory-building, this volume explores how African modes of thought have shaped our approaches to a meaningful past outside of Africa.
A timely intervention into archaeological thought, Theory in Africa, Africa in Theory deconstructs the conventional ways we approach the past, positioning the continent within a global theoretical discourse and blending Western and African scholarship. This volume will be a valuable resource for those interested in the archaeology of Africa, as well as providing fresh perspectives to those interested in archaeological theory more generally.
Stephanie Wynne-Jones is a Swahili archaeologist at the University of York, specializing in East African coastal urbanism, material culture and social practice. Jeffrey B. Fleisher is Associate Professor at Rice University and Director of the Rice University Archaeological Field School.
I. Disciplinary engagements with Africa 1 Theory in Africa: Africa in theory Stephanie Wynne-Jones and Jeffrey Fleisher 2 African models in global histories Scott MacEachern 3 The Problem of equifinality in archaeology Felix Chami 4 The place of Africa in theory Henrietta Moore II. Theory in Africa 5 Problems with practice: Dynamic interpretation in African archaeology Stephanie Wynne-Jones 6 Situating the Swahili house Jeffrey Fleisher 7 Pioneers of archaeological thought and practice in postcolonial Nigeria Akin Ogundiran 8 Settlements and culture: Cognitive models in African prehistory Thomas Huffman 9 Material expressions of religious identity in Ghana Kodzo Gavua 10 What kind of science is archaeology? Iron Age studies in southern Africa Per Ditlef Fredriksen III. Africa in Archaeological Theory: Impacts beyond the Continent 11 Iron Age imaginaries and barbarian encounters: European prehistory's African past Paul Lane 12 The African State in Theory: Thoughts on Political Landscapes and the Limits of Rule in Atlantic Senegal (and elsewhere) Francois G. Richard 13 Broadening the phenomenological perspective? Lessons from the African landscape Timothy Insoll 14 Off the coast, but hopefully not too off-the-cuff: Thoughts on anthropological archaeology and theory in Africa and Africa in theory and in practice Susan Kus IV. Commentary 15 Archaeology of a continent, in theory Wendy Ashmore 16 Anthropology, Archaeology and African Studies: Some thoughts on theory, stuff and the possibilities of a new afro-centrism Joost Fontein