BOONE, N.C. — During the next two academic years, Dr. Cameron Gokee, assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Appalachian State University, will lead archaeological research to study how the Atlantic slave trade impacted social life in the Bandafassi region of eastern Senegal — a West African “shatter zone” where people fought, fled and/or joined the predatory political economies of neighboring states.
Gokee received $105,867 in grant funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the research project.
“Focusing on the Bandafassi region of eastern Senegal, this project will map historical changes and continuities in the social rules of inclusion and exclusion that defined who could be enslaved by whom, and under what conditions, over the past several centuries — before, during and after the rise of the Atlantic slave trade,” Gokee explained.
He said, largely, this research will “cast new light on the historical causes and consequences of a violent social rupture shared by both Africans and the African Diaspora (people born in the Americas with predominantly African ancestry).”
The project will foster innovative research opportunities for Appalachian students and public outreach collaborations with local communities, including the installation of a museum exhibit at a UNESCO World Heritage cultural center in the region.
“By exploring local responses to global processes over the long term, this research can also inform forward-looking approaches to U.S. political and economic engagement in rural Africa and other regions on the periphery of the modern world system,” he said.
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About the Department of Anthropology
The Department of Anthropology offers a comparative and holistic approach to the study of the human experience. The anthropological perspective provides a broad understanding of the origins as well as the meaning of physical and cultural diversity in the world — past, present and future. Learn more at https://anthro.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.