Robyn d'Avignon, Assistant Professor of African History
Robyn d’Avignon is an historian and anthropologist of West Africa. Her book project—Shadow Geology: The Search for Subterranean Knowledge in West Africa—explores the precolonial and colonial roots of ongoing debates over the rights of agrarian citizens to mine gold. Drawing on ethnographic and archival material from Senegal, Guinea, and France, this book documents how colonial and post-colonial states profited from the mineral discoveries of multi-generational gold mining families, while simultaneously degrading African extractive practices as wasteful, primitive, and criminal. This project contributes to decolonizing the history of technology by placing the regulation of technological practice in Africa at the heart of debates over the origin and perpetuation of anti-black racism in the Atlantic world and beyond.