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Towards a Black Historical Ecology
Towards a Black Historical Ecology
WhenFriday, Jan. 24, 2020, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.

The transatlantic slave trade era – marked by chattel slavery, racial capitalism, and exploitative plantation economies – radically transformed societies and environments in the Americas. In this talk, Dr. Dunnavant expands upon a Black Historical Ecology framework with insights from recent excavations at the Estate Little Princess in St. Croix. Drawing from an array of archaeological, historical and environmental data, he argues that the development of plantation slavery elicited lasting ecological changes as colonial planters developed exploitative monocrop agricultural systems and enslaved Africans established themselves in the Caribbean. More recent geospatial research also demonstrates how the exploitation of African communities was directly tied to environmental degradation and the liberatory interventions that were made as these communities actively resisted. Finally, he will posit the need to engage questions of sustainability as a form of redress in contemporary archaeological praxis.

Dr. Justin Dunnavant is an Academic Pathways Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University’s Spatial Analysis Research Laboratory. He holds a BA in History and Anthropology from Howard University and an MA and Ph.D. from the University of Florida. While his former research interrogated the history and representation of minority groups in southern Ethiopia, his current work in the US Virgin Islands investigates the relationship between ecology and enslavement in the former Danish West Indies. Justin has conducted archaeological research in US Virgin Islands, Belize, Jamaica, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mozambique, and The Gambia.

As a regular participant in Diving with A Purpose’s Maritime Archaeology Training Program, Justin is developing his skills in maritime archaeology. Working with DWP, he has assisted with the documentation of the Slobodna and Acorn wrecks as well as the search for the slave ship, Guerrero.

In addition to his archaeological research, Justin is co-founder and President of the Society of Black Archaeologists, an AAUS Scientific SCUBA Diver, and consults for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture Slave Wrecks Project.

This event is part of the Friday Afternoon Archeology Lecture Series

Campus locationDenny Hall (DEN)
Campus room313
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsAfrican Studies Program, Horn of Africa Initiative, Comparative History of Ideas, Department of History, Department of Anthropology, Burke Archeology…
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