Struggles over the meaning of the past are common in postcolonial states. State cultural heritage programs build monuments to reinforce in nation building efforts-often supported by international organizations and tourist dollars. These efforts often ignore the other, often more troubling memories preserved by local communities-markers of colonial oppression, cultural genocide, and ethnic identity. Yet, as the contributors to this volume note, questions of memory, heritage, identity and conservation are interwoven at the local, ethnic, national and global level and cannot be easily disentangled. In a fascinating series of cases from West Africa, anthropologists, archaeologists and art historians show how memory and heritage play out in a variety of postcolonial contexts. Settings range from televised ritual performances in Mali to monument conservation in Djenne and slavery memorials in Ghana.
Ferdinand de Jong is Lecturer in Anthropology at the School of World Art Studies and Museology of the University of East Anglia. He has conducted research on masked performances and initiation ceremonies in Senegal. His book Masquerades of Modernity: Power and secrecy in Casamance, Senegal has just been published by Edinburgh University Press. He has also published on conflict resolution in a special issue of the Canadian Journal of African Studies on the civil war in Senegal. His current research focuses on the memory and heritage of the slave trade and colonialism in postcolonial Senegal. Michael Rowlands is Professor of Anthropology at UCL. His research has focused on material culture and cultural heritage studies in West and Central Africa, on new technologies and collections, and the comparative study of long term historical change. Recent publications include A Handbook of Material Culture (2006) and articles on material culture, cultural property and rights, and heritage and modernity.