Negotiating “Nkudzedze” During Global Trade: Interpreting the Materiality of Indigenous Practices of Taste in Southeastern Ghana (1807-1900 AD)

Year: 2017-2023

This multi-year community-collaborative ethnoarchaeological project investigated how the ancestors of Amedeka mediated global and regional scale socioeconomic networks through indigenous embodied practices, such as local tastes. In Amedeka, Southeastern Ghana, where this research is situated, local tastes and their related performances were conceptualized as “nkudzedze” – ‘pleasing to the eyes.’ This project offers a new line of investigation that centralizes the indigenous practices of local people in the narratives of Africa’s global encounters. With support from the Social Science Research Council, Northwestern University, Gloria S. King, and the Society of Africanist Archaeology, the project concluded that nkudzedze and other embodied practices directed daily life, the production and consumption of trade goods and to an extent, serve as a radical act to decentralize research methodologies from the Eurowestern gaze and colonial epistemologies that continue to ‘otherize’ local and Indigenous communities.