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Nick Shepherd is an Associate Professor in the Centre for African Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. In 2004-5 he was a Mandela Fellow at Harvard University. He has been a long-standing member of the Executive Committee of the World Archaeological Congress, and is co-editor of the journal Archaeologies: Journal of the World Archaeological Congress. His published work has focused on the contemporary politics of memory and heritage in South Africa, on histories of knowledge production in African archaeology, and on questions of archaeological theory and ethics. This includes two collections: Desire Lines: Space, Memory, and Identity in the Post-apartheid City (Routledge, 2007, edited with Martin Hall and Noeleen Murray), and New South African Keywords (Jacana Media and Ohio University Press, 2008, edited with Steven Robins). Keywords has been described as “a compendium of cutting-edge thinking on the new society”. His most recent work has focused on histories and legacies of racial slavery in the Western Cape region of South Africa, and their expression in postapartheid public culture. As part of an ethically and publically engaged model of scholarship, he has developed strong networks with community activists, public history museums, slave-descended communities, and communities of memory in Cape Town.
Professor Shepherd works across a number of disciplinary boundaries, including archaeology, Africana Studies, and the public humanities. He is a member of a number of research groupings and working groups, including convening a working group on Public History, Memory and Heritage (with Rupert Lewis of the University of the West Indies), and being co-founder of the South-South network on Cultural Heritage and Globalization (with Alejandro Haber of the University of Catamarca, Argentina). He has a growing reputation for his work at the cutting edges of Indigenous Archaeology and Public Archaeology. Current projects include a book on archaeology and society in South Africa from the 1870s to the present (The Mirror in the Ground: Archaeology and Society in South Africa), and a book on archaeology and the politics of memory.