On November 11, the Forum for Africa Studies hosted a Friday Seminar (Fredagsforsk) by Ezekia Mtetwa, PhD Candidate at the Department of Archeology and Ancient History. Prof. Paul Lane at the same department chaired the session.
Ezekia has deconstructed the narrative around Great Zimbabwe as a rigidly centralized polity by showing the presence of a variety of local iron-production tecniques in areas far from this ancient dwelling. Using Carole Crumley’s version of "heterarchy", Ezekia has address the presence of interdependent, richly networked systems characterized not by levels but by nodes, links, and networks.
The discussion after the presentation highlighted the need to deconstruct grand narratives about African kingdoms as pyramidal political structures and centralised societies: African historiography, ethnography and archaeology together can illustrate how local powers and people's agency have always coexisted with hierarchical structures.