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"Rethinking the Urban Hinterlands of Ancient East Africa"

Taliaferro Hall 2110
Monday, December 7, 2015 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Please join us for a lunchtime talk on "Rethinking the Urban Hinterlands of Ancient East Africa" with Dr. Jonathan Walz, Rollins College, on December 7th at 12 pm. Dr. Walz will be introduced by Dr. Paul Landau, University of Maryland. 

Swahili cities were some of the earliest African urban centers, and formed the main bridgehead to the Indian Ocean trading world. How did they form? This paper aims to rethink the communities who inhabited the ancient coastal hinterland of urban East Africa. I present results from historical archaeology projects conducted in Tanzania that add to and challenge our understanding of urban-rural relations in the region and Indian Ocean influences on Africans in antiquity. A systematic, historical approach demonstrates that scholars can challenge and transform historical representations of East Africa that artificially dichotomize people, geographies, and pasts. A changed and nuanced understanding of African pasts emerges from such a treatment.

Jonathan Walz is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology Coordinator at Rollins College. His scholarship engages the people and past of East Africa and the western Indian Ocean. A selection of Dr. Walz’s recent publications appear in American Antiquity and in various edited scholarly volumes. His interests include deep time historical archaeology, regional approaches to pasts, and urban-rural interactions in Tanzania and India. His work benefits from collaboration with communities in East Africa and South Asia.

Lunch will be served. To reserve lunch, RSVP at millercenter@umd.edu or call at 301-405-4299.