Episode 110: In the Caribbean, how do archaeologists study enslavement, ecology and the histories of African diasporas?
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On this episode, Dr. Justin Dunnavant (Vanderbilt University) is on the show to talk about his research on African diaspora archaeology, and his work with various organizations and initiatives that involve training up students in maritime archaeology, sharing historical knowledge with wider publics, and fostering relationships with communities.
St. Croix is an island and district of the U.S. Virgin Islands, formerly colonized by the Spanish, the Dutch, the British and the Danish. What are key questions that Justin and his teams ask about the history of slavery on the island? How do archaeologists study material culture and scuba-dive to understand the ecological impacts of slavery in the past and what life was like for the enslaved population on St. Croix? How have field schools and organizations like Diving with a Purpose been able to host new students and community members in engaging with archaeology?
Justin is also the Founding President of the Society of Black Archaeologists, has collaborated with numerous cultural heritage and tourism agencies, and works on the Slave Wrecks Project at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. How does Justin manage these projects and initiatives alongside his research? Why is it important to Justin to engage in outreach, environmental causes and local heritage work? How are archaeologists working on improving capacity for junior archaeologists and promoting more people of African descent in our field?
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