Hakimah Abdul-Fattah

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Pennsylvania, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10584

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Abdul-Fattah, Hakimah (Pennsylvania, U. of) "Living in History, Narrating Place: Heritage Creation and Worldmaking at Saint-Louis and Gorée Island"

How do stories of place activate visions for the future? The islands of Saint-Louis and Gorée are internationally recognized for their histories of slavery and colonial rule. These dominant historical narratives foreground European actors and separate the histories of slavery and colonization, where Gorée becomes the site of slavery and Saint-Louis that of colonial governance. Senegalese heritage workers have recently begun to turn attention away from these imperial narratives and to the everyday ways people living in these sites understand them and narrate them. Through ethnographic and archival research in Senegal, I will map a longer genealogy of curating the heritage-scapes of Saint-Louis and Gorée. I seek to investigate the importance of storytelling, as a form of worldmaking, in and around heritage sites to the imagining of local, Senegalese, West African, and Black futures. What is it about the creation of heritage, and its subsequent mobilization, that imbues it with political, social and economic aspirations for the future? How do state actors reckon with the histories of slavery and colonization at these sites? Tracing modes of worldmaking by Senegalese heritage workers and local communities in and around these heritage-scapes could offer innovative forms of living in history.