Thursday, 6 June 2019

ZIMBABWEAN SCHOLAR AWARDED GLOBAL PROFESSORSHIP


Professor Shadreck Chirikure, head of the University of Cape Town (UCT) Archaeological Materials Laboratory, has won a Global Professorship from the British Academy for his work dating historical artefacts and the study of pre-colonial urban societies in Africa. The award provides the opportunity for internationally recognised scholars working in the social sciences and humanities to relocate to the United Kingdom (UK) for four years and continue their research at a British university. Chirikure will soon take up his place at the University of Oxford’s School of Archaeology.

“When I heard the news I was ecstatic,” says Chirikure. “It is wonderful recognition of my work. But beyond this, I believe it also comes with a great deal of responsibility.”

 “My hope is that this award will mean we can really focus on the development of students working in the field, especially in previously disadvantaged institutions such as the University of Venda, the University of Limpopo and institutions in Mozambique, for example.”

In Chirikure’s view, the professorship provides the opportunity to raise the profile of African archaeology at the University of Oxford and leverage the available resources to support other young African scholars.

“My hope is that this award will mean we can really focus on the development of students working in the field, especially in previously disadvantaged institutions such as the University of Venda, the University of Limpopo and institutions in Mozambique, for example.

“I think this can support the development of a new cohort of African archaeologists.”

Beyond the possibility for student development, Chirikure is most excited about the prospect of collaborating with other researchers and thinkers at the University of Oxford. “I am greatly looking forward to having access to such a deep reserve of archives, research technology and laboratories,” he says.

Chirikure plans to continue his work looking at pre-colonial urban society in southern Africa over the course of his four-year tenure at Oxford. “I am excited at the prospect of addressing questions that lie at the intersection of human community, food and landscape,” he says.

“I am particularly keen to explore the deep history of food and food security, including looking at food residues found in pots, which can tell us a great deal, including about the specific species of vegetables and grains being used, diets and levels of nutrition.”

At present, Chirikure is head of UCT’s Archaeological Materials Laboratory.

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