History & Theory

Digital Platforms and Ancient African Knowledge Systems: Triumphs and Vulnerabilities

History & Theory
31 Oct, 2022

Digital Platforms and Ancient African Knowledge Systems: Triumphs and Vulnerabilities

Presented as part of the History and Theory of New Media Lecture Series and the Indigenous Technologies Initiative. Co-sponsored by The Department of Ethnic Studies, The School of Information, Media Studies, Native American Studies, and The Center for Race and Gender

with Gloria Emeagwali
Professor of History and African Studies, Central Connecticut State University

Register for the Zoom link here!

The focus of this presentation is on media sharing, knowledge, search and service platforms, and their intersections with ancient African Knowledges. The ingenuity of ancient Africa in chemistry, ceramics, metallurgy, textiles, and writing systems is explored during the discourse, and so, too, issues associated with intellectual property rights and colonial appropriation and plunder of African artifacts. The positive gains and contributions associated with digitization, in general, and digital platforms, in particular, are examined, and so, too, the accompanying constraints that stem from the global digital divide and “digital platform” imperialism.

About Gloria Emeagwali

Dr. Emeagwali has published extensively on various aspects of African history. She taught for a decade at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, and St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, UK. Dr. Gloria Emeagwali was the Founding Director of African Studies at Central Connecticut State University, and at the present time, is Professor of History and African Studies at that institution. Prof. Emeagwali is also an amateur film maker and producer of numerous video -film documentaries that are accessible at Vimeo and You Tube. She has an active presence in professional networking platforms such as Linked-In and USA Africa Dialogue and is the Chief Editor of Africa Update. Professor Emeagwali is the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Research Excellence Award, University of Texas at Austin, and the 2019 Distinguished Africanist Award, New York African Studies Association.

Indigenous Technologies

Indigenous Technologies is a program of the Berkeley Center for New Media that engages questions of technology and new media in relation to global structures of indigeneity, settler colonialism and genocide in the 21st century. Our Indigenous Tech events and ongoing conversations with Indigenous scholars and communities aim to critically envision and reimagine what a more just and sustainable technological future can look like. We will highlight Indigenous engagements with robotics, computer science, telecommunications, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, social media, online activism, video games, and more.

Read a full description of the program and find more resources here.


The event is free and open to the public and will take place virtually over Zoom with a simultaneous livestream on BCNM’s YouTube Channel. All of our broadcasts will be live-captioned, and our Zoom Webinar experience offers an additional Streamtext window with options to customize caption text size and display. Please contact info.bcnm [at] with requests or questions.

With the consent of featured speakers, all recorded videos will be available on the BCNM YouTube channel immediately after the event and event transcripts will be posted to this page one month after the event. We strive to meet any additional access and accommodation needs.

BCNM is proud to make conversations with leading scholars, artists, and technologists freely available to the public. Please help us continue this tradition by making a tax-deductible donation today. If you are in the position to support the program, we suggest $5 per event, or $100 a year.

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