A number of members of staff in Art History and World Art Studies specialize in the art, anthropology, archaeology and visual and material cultures of Africa. In this they are supported by the dynamic Centre for African Art and Archaeology, based in the Sainsbury Research Unit.
Dr. Jo Clarke jointly directs a programme of archaeological and environmental research in Western Sahara, with her own interests centring on the social changes that took place during the late Neolithic and the Chalcolithic periods. Dr. Christina Riggs’ much-applauded book, Unwrapping Ancient Egypt, broke new ground in the field and her current project, Photographing Tutenkhamun, is the first to focus upon the Tutankhamun excavation archives.
Looking to more recent times, the research of art historian Dr. Simon Dell and anthropologist Dr. Ferdinand de Jong in their different ways explore the complexities of colonialism, its interactions and its consequences. Dr. Dell’s forthcoming book The Portrait and the Colonial Imaginary, builds on his interest in the relationship between representation, subjectivity and political struggles, so central to his 2007 monograph, The Image of the Popular Front. Dr. de Jong has for many years been conducting field work in Senegal in West Africa, and is currently at work upon a major study for Indiana University Press, Decolonising Time: Pan-African Heritage in Senegal. He has a longstanding interest in theoretical and anthropological debates concerning temporality, public memory and the archive.