Intersecting Worlds: The Interplay of Cultures and Technology

14 - 18 January 2019

Venue: Lorentz Center@Oort

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Aim and Description

European expansion into the non-western world at the end of the fifteenth century represents a landmark in global history, transforming indigenous societies permanently that at present often remain marginalized in colonial and post-colonial historiographies of conquest and hegemony. The workshop “Intersecting worlds: the interplay of cultures and technologies” that is taking place on January 14-19, 2019 in Leiden, aims to use the archaeological record to provide completely novel insights into these infamous histories by uncovering the indigenous perspectives currently biased by still dominant Eurocentric viewpoints.

With the Portuguese exploration of the West African coast in the fifteenth century, specifically in Cabo Verde, the European expansion began. On 1460 they established the first plantations and lay the groundwork for the transformation of the African societies as a consequence of the commerce and slave trading. In the Americas, the Caribbean indigenous where the first to experience the European contact and colonization. At the beginning of the 16th century, they also experience the influx of African slaves, contributing to the formation of present-day, multi-ethnic Caribbean society. In Asia and the Pacific Rim, Australia and New Zealand the Europeans encounters represented equally varied contacts and cultural intersections. Been the principal cause of widespread social, political and economic change, causing catastrophic demographic collapse as a result of the introduction of exotic diseases to which Europeans were tolerant but to which local populations had no resistance.

This workshop aims to explore, in a comparative way, the transformations and responses of indigenous societies around the world to changing cultural, social, economic and political environments triggered by European contact and colonialism. Archaeological data forms the backbone; the indigenous perspective is the hallmark. The two key questions addressed are 1) What were the immediate, and the lasting, effects of colonial encounters on indigenous cultures and societies across the world, and what were the intercultural dynamics that took place during these infamous colonization processes? 2) How can the study of indigenous histories contribute to a more sophisticated awareness in the present, and how can it speak to multiple and perhaps competing stakeholders at local, regional, pan-regional, and global scales?

Organized by the distinguished academics as, Prof. Corinne Hofman, Caribbean Archaeology, Leiden University; Prof. Ian Lilley, Archaeological Heritage Management, University of Queensland, and Prof. Christopher DeCorse, African Archaeology and History, Syracuse University. It brings together 35 researchers from around the world with expertise on the Caribbean, West Africa, Pacific, on state-of-the-art method and technique development in relevant fields and local stakeholders.

The Lorentz Center financed this workshop as part of the Distinguished Lorentz Fellowship (DLF) awarded to Prof. Corinne Hofman in 2018.


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