"Potentially the Pompeii of East Africa": Histories of Archaeology, Colonialism, and Tourism in East African Stone Towns


  • Online event via Zoom
  • Data: 11.10.2021
  • Ora: 11:00 - 13:00
  • Relatrice: Vera-Simone Schulz
  • Luogo: Villino Stroganoff, Via Gregoriana 22, 00187 Rom
"Potentially the Pompeii of East Africa": Histories of Archaeology, Colonialism, and Tourism in East African Stone Towns
Referred to as "potentially the Pompeii of East Africa", the ambition to liken the ruined city of Kua in the Mafia archipelago in today’s Tanzania with one of the most famous ruined sites in Europe could hardly have been greater and continues to overshadow the Tanzanian archaeological site.

Putting this statement, made by none other than Mortimer Wheeler in the mid-twentieth century, into context, this talk investigates approaches to the architectural heritage of coastal East Africa with regard to archaeological expeditions, the early history of tourism, and the weights of colonialism. The talk will then seek to re-frame Wheeler’s statement in the context of more recent approaches to East African architecture, and discuss the possibilities and challenges for re-considerations of East African architectural heritage beyond Eurocentric notions of center and periphery in the horizons of transcultural and global art histories.

Vera-Simone Schulz is postdoctoral research associate at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, where she works at the crossroads of Islamic, African and European art histories. She is co-director of the collaborative research project "Material Migrations: Mamluk Metalwork across Afro-Eurasia", funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, and co-convenor of the seminar series "Plants in Africa and the Global South: Multi-Species Materialities, Ecologies, and Aesthetics (MMEA)", hosted by the Consortium of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine. Her publications appeared in Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, Perspective: Actualité en histoire de l’art, Convivium, Konsthistorisk tidskrift, and Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, among other journals. She’s currently co-editing a volume on "Connectivity, Transcultural Entanglements, and the Power of Aesthetic Choices in Africa", editing a volume on "Archaeology, Colonialism, and the History of Tourism", and working on her habilitation project on "East Africa’s Elsewheres: Archipelagic Thinking and Transcultural Art Histories".

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Scientific organization: Katharine Stahlbuhk and Tristan Weddigen

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