AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: THE EPHEMERALITY OF AFRICAN DIASPORIC MATERIALITY
Author: DAVID PALMER (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)   
Date/Time: Wed., 9:15 PM
Co-Author(s): DAVID PALMER (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) 
Abstract: The material record of the African Diaspora in the Gulf Coast and Circum-Caribbean is all too often ephemeral, elided, or erased. Embodiment is the fundamental materiality of the individual. With the majority of Africans arriving in the New World via enslavement, this primary materiality was imposed upon them by enslavers who valued them principally as laboring bodies. Enslaved Africans and their descendents created diverse materialities and subjectivities, and we are sometimes able to access these in addition to the primary materiality. Interactions in this region, increasingly structured through hierarchical relations, resulted in new (some might say hybridized) modes of living and relating among the various African, European, and Native peoples. Our efforts to identify and explore, much less understand, the resulting complexity and cosmopolitanism are hindered by a legacy of racist hegemony. The subjectivity and materiality of African and Native persons are considered, literally and figuratively, to be immaterial in a world still largely under racist hegemony. Recent events, from the mainstream media characterization of post-earthquake Haiti and post-Katrina New Orleans, to the initial treatment of the African Burial Ground (New York City) provide examples of the continuance of racist hegemony. If Haiti, the revolutionary counterpoint to the United States, is blithely characterized in mainstream media as suffering due solely to its own mismanagement, it comes as no surprise that sites of enslavement, successful communities of Free Persons of Color, and Native Americans who incorporated Africans into their communities as equals, are still overlooked, destroyed, and misrepresented.

Program Number: 1-0760
Session Title: MATERIALITY OF THE SLIPSTREAM: DEEPENING HISTORICAL ANTHROPOLOGIES OF THE CIRCUM-CARIBBEAN AND GULF COAST
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Wed., 8:00 PM-9:45 PM
Organizer(s): ROB MANN (Louisiana State University), MARK REES (University of Louisiana-Lafayette) 
Chair(s): MARK REES (University of Louisiana-Lafayette)  
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