Prof. Justin Dunnavant, Occidental’s 2022 Stafford Ellison Wright Black Alumni Scholar-in-Residence, will give a public lecture, "In Search of Maroon Geographies: Archaeologies of African Fugitivity in the Virgin Islands," at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 16 as part of his residency.
Professor Justin Dunnavant—archeologist, assistant professor of anthropology at UCLA and co-founder and president of the Society of Black Archaeologists—is Occidental College’s 2022 Stafford Ellison Wright Black Alumni Scholar-in-Residence.
Exploring the remains of shipwrecks, he investigates the ecological effects of the slave trade with an eye towards current day connections. His work is community-connected and he is passionate about training future maritime archeologists.
About “In Search of Maroon Geographies: Archaeologies of African Fugitivity in the Virgin Islands”
Scholars of slavery have traditionally turned to the historical record to explore how enslaved Africans fled enslavement. However, in recent decades archaeology has expanded scholars’ understanding of marronage in the Atlantic world. Drawing from contemporary LiDAR and geospatial data in St. Croix (Ay Ay) and the former Danish West Indies, Dunnavant shows how newer archaeological methods expand the understanding of maroon geographies and ecologies while also turning attention toward maritime seascapes. Theoretically, Dunnavant engages scholars in Black Geographies to think more critically about the sea/ocean as a site of history, memory, placemaking, and liminality, positioning bodies of water and seafaring vessels as a (de)generative space of Black Atlantic sociality and possibility. These “archaeologies of marronage” allow us to bridge terrestrial and maritime land and seascapes in the search for African fugitivity in the Atlantic.
This virtual event is free and open to all students, staff, faculty, alumni and the general public.
Send in your questions for Professor Dunnavant in advance via this Google form. The deadline to submit questions is Friday, February 11. Questions regarding registration can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Justin Dunnavart
Dunnavant is an archeologist and assistant professor of anthropology at UCLA. His current research in the U.S. Virgin Islands investigates the relationship between ecology and enslavement. In addition to his archeological research, Dunnavant is co-founder of and president of the Society of Black Archeologists, consults for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and is an AAUS Scientific SCUBA diver. His work has appeared in American Archeology,Science, Antipode, International Journal of Historical Archeology, and Nature. Read more about Professor Dunnavant.
About the Stafford Ellison Wright Endowment
Created by Occidental’s Black Alumni Organization (BAO), the Stafford Ellison Wright Endowment enables distinguished Black scholars from a variety of fields, artists, elected officials and others to spend time in residence at Occidental each year. BAO members believe that a student’s educational experience will be enriched by in-depth contact with individuals who serve as symbols of excellence.
The Endowment honors Occidental’s first Black graduates, all members of the Class of 1952: Dr. Janet Stafford, George F. Ellison and Barbara Bowman Wright.