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Annissa Malvoisin
Postdoctoral Fellow in the Arts of Africa, Bard Graduate Center/Brooklyn Museum

Through the Sahara, Across the Red Sea: Trade Networks of Meroitic Fineware and Their Impact on Modern Museum Collections  

Somewhere between 200 BCE and 900 CE, a hole formed in the archaeological record connecting Northeast and West Africa. This hole is permeated by an enduring disconnect between the study of the cultural relationship between early medieval Nile Valley civilizations and Iron Age West African cultures just prior to the active transcontinental networks established through the Silk Road. Malvoisin’s doctoral thesis studies the historical-cultural contexts of inter-regional connections between Nubia, Egypt, Sahelian cultures, and the regional cultures of Nigeria and Mali through the reassessment of the iconographical and decorative representations on Meroitic Nubian ceramics, termed “fineware” and named after the capital city of Meroe, in museum collections between 200 BCE and 400 CE. Decorative similarities between regions are apparent. Relevant sites that date to the eighth through nineteenth centuries are mentioned to exemplify continuity and change over time and across geographical areas. Malvoisin suggests that Nubia’s trade industry had a direct influence on the way that fineware, considered the pinnacle of Nubian artistry and coveted for collections due to their high-level aesthetic quality, are studied and displayed in museums.

Thursday, November 11, 12:15 pm

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Annissa Malvoisin’s research focuses on Egyptology, Nubian archaeology, and museum studies. She earned her master’s degree in museum studies from the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto and incorporates museum theory and practice into her academic and professional work. She has worked with collections at the Royal Ontario Museum in the Department of Arts and Culture: Global Africa and in Ancient Egypt and Nubia, as well as with the Bioarchaeology of Nubia Expedition at Arizona State University.

This event is open to the BGC community and invited guests of the speaker. This event will be held in-person at the Lecture Hall and accessible via Zoom. A link will be circulated to registrants by 10 am on the day of the event. This event will be live with automatic captions.