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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article summarises the evolution of Africanist ceramic studies in ethnography and archaeology. Over a century ago, one of the first monographs devoted to ethnography announced many further developments in ceramic studies. The modernity of a publication whose overall tone and presentation are grounded in early colonial ideology heralded some major directions in African ceramic studies: close association with prevailing theories in social science, interest in large-scale comparisons, use of ethnographic analogy in archaeology, and attention to technical processes. Completely missing, however, were considerations of the cultural history of those among whom pots and technical information were collected. This only started to change once Western scholars not only acknowledged that African people had a past, but also that that past was worth attention.

Keywords: Africanist ceramic studies, ethnography, African archaeology, colonial ideology, African pottery

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