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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: GENEALOGIES OF DEBT: MATERIAL RECONFIGURATIONS OF LABOR, WEALTH, AND SOCIAL INVESTMENT IN SENEGAL, 1100-1900 AD
Author: KRISTINA GUILD (Yale University), FRANCOIS RICHARD (University of Chicago)   
Date/Time: Fri., 4:45 PM
Co-Author(s): KRISTINA GUILD (Yale University), FRANCOIS RICHARD (University of Chicago) 
Abstract: This paper tracks key moments in the transformation of debt relations in west-central Senegal, from the late Iron Age to the Atlantic period. Using archaeological expressions and ethnohistorical documents, our intent is to generate preliminary thoughts about 1) the architecture of labor, value, production and exchange, 2) how they were materialized, and 3) the restructuring of social wealth and obligations in the longue durée of Senegalese history. Debt acts as a prism through which we can examine the organizing logics of local cultural economies, the forms of control that held them together, and the cultural frameworks that shaped interactions with the outside world, especially as local communities became immersed in broader spheres of trade. The investigation of principles of debt and value thus promises to shed original light on local social trajectories both before and after the advent of European expansion. In the centuries that preceded Atlantic contacts monumental burials – tumuli and megalithic formations – are the most visible signatures of social labor in Senegal. Their downscaling and disappearance after the 1600s index shifts in the construction of wealth and authority, as local consumer markets became entangled with new worlds of commodities. The paper seeks to address the nature of these changes and explore the effects of global market forces on local social orders and economic strategies. These might, in turn, help us to identify the structures of the long-term that presaged and continue to inform the management of social debt in present-day Senegal.

Program Number: 3-0830
Session Title: MATERIALIZING AND EMBODYING DEBT
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Fri., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): CHARLES COBB, MARK HAUSER (Northwestern University) 
Chair(s): ANN STAHL (University of Victoria)  
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