Happy New Year to regular and new followers of my blog. New Years resolutions are often doomed before they even start and as a pragmatist I don’t expect the world to change at the chimes of Big Ben. That said it would be a positive start to 2013 if people with dispositions towards intolerance educate themselves about “others” and denounce their particular prejudice, racism, sexism, ageism, their homophobia or hostility towards disabled people - to name just a few - rather than make a resolution to eat less cake or exercise more. Regardless, those of us who abhor such behaviour should not be downhearted, stay resolute and when we can, question, challenge and inform.
Last week I was a panellist on the African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter Forum at the Society for Historical Archaeology conference in Leicester titled Building the Atlantic Mosaic: Piecing Together Archaeology, Memory and Memorials of the African Diaspora. The session looked at issues such as how do we memorialize the history of the African Diaspora? How do we navigate the breadth, depth and complexities that these histories represent? I was the only UK representative and was joined by several US museum curators and consultants as well as Professor Robert Paynter (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) a good friend (he is the reason I’m a Boston Red Sox fan and he a Leeds Utd fan respectively) and someone I greatly admire, who has led archaeological excavations at the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, now a National Historic Landmark, since the early 1980s. Du Bois, renowned scholar of African and African American life, the first African American to receive a Ph.D. degree from Harvard and author of the seminal The Souls of Black Folk (1903) passed away in 1963 in Ghana after a prolific career. In 1961 Du Bois had accepted an invitation by President Nkrumah to work on the Encyclopedia Africana project.
Finally, please do try and attend our forthcoming free in conversation event with the artist Nicola Green (hosted by yours truly) at the Walker Art Gallery on Friday 18th January from 3-4pm. The event will explore her experiences of following President Obama on his 2008 campaign trail as well as a broader discussion on the global impact of Obama's historic election.
Bye for now,