Inaugural Lecture@UCL: Kevin MacDonald

Start: Feb 26, 2013 06:30 PM

Location: UCL Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building

UCL, 2011 (Image ©UCL Media Services)

Kevin MacDonald will give his Inaugural Lecture entitled 'Re-Mapping West Africa's Ancient Empires' at UCL on 26 February.

Inaugural lectures are an opportunity for UCL professors to exhibit to the wider UCL community, and the public outside UCL, a flavour of their intellectual activity and research and for newly promoted professors they are also an opportunity for colleagues to recognise and celebrate the achievements that have led to their promotion.

The Inaugural Lecture will be followed by a reception and all are welcome.


2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the publication of Maurice Delafosse’s monumental Haut-Sénégal-Niger, a work which provided the first comprehensive history of the Niger, Senegal and Volta river basins from the first millennium AD onwards. Delafosse not only defined the principal polities by which we sub-divide western Sahelian history, he supplied a set of territorial expectations for each of these polities. These old attributions have hobbled fresh research for decades; leaving us with borders and points drawn on maps in every textbook whose basis is largely accumulated myth. In this lecture, Kevin MacDonald will unravel long held certainties concerning the location of capitals and heartlands of the two great empires of Ghana and Mali. The data used will be largely archaeological, drawn in good measure from his own excavations and surveys, interwoven with elements of oral tradition and text.