Risk in the Tshimbupfe–Berkeley Collaborative Archaeology Partnership as Engaged Scholarship

  • Jun SunseriEmail author
Part of the One World Archaeology book series (WORLDARCH)


How might descendant communities and their allied archaeologists design equitable research together to combat legacies of academic exploitation? Community-partnered research still takes place in relationships of differential power and risk. Shifting archaeological practitioners’ focus from entitlement foundations of “stewardship” to structures of accountability is but one formulation of relationship building that foregrounds restorative justice and dedication to contemporary community struggles for self-determination. Experiences of collaborative research design for the archaeological investigation of Tshimbupfe’s cultural resources in Limpopo Province, South Africa is part of a long-term commitment to a local, meaningful and community-driven form of partnered scholarship. This kind of work explores why and how what might be perceived as taking risks with partnered research is a powerful form of commitment to a practice of decolonization. When communities open their doors to archaeologists there is the potential for sharing sensitive information as well as expending precious political capital and resources at multiple registers. Local leaders in community partnerships are at the vanguard of such negotiations and the archaeological community should be grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their ongoing scholarship.


Risk Community-accountable research Structures of accountability Decolonizing research partnerships 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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