African slave heritage underwater
An article in The Washington Post describes efforts of the Slave Wrecks Project, funded by the Smithsonian Institution, to discover, excavate as appropriate, and preserve ships that sank while carrying African slaves to the New World. It highlights the work of Ibrahima Thiaw, an underwater archaeologist from Senegal. So far, there has been only one excavation of a wrecked slave ship, the São José, found thousands of miles from South Africa. Artifacts from the vessel will be displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, opening in September. [Blogger’s note: My colleague at GW, Steve Lubkemann, an underwater archaeologist and cultural anthropologist, is the founding co-director of the Slave Wrecks Project. He is also working to develop some slave wreck sites as underwater tourism destinations].
Zambia presidential election fraught
AllAfrica published an op-ed by social anthropologist Vito Laterza in which he examines the recent presidential election in Zambia including claims of rigging: “The campaign was marred by unprecedented levels of political violence, leading to several people being killed and many injured.” Moreover, he argues that such problems are “only likely to increase…as Zambia goes through the worst economic crisis in more than 10 years.” Laterza is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, focusing on politics, economy, and society in sub-Saharan Africa.