Association of Black Anthropologists
Oral Presentation Session
This theory in development is a response to the archaeological discourse concerning the Nubian C-Group, a pastoralist society occupying the Lower Nubian territory of Wawat from 2200 -1500 BC. The literature on the Nubian C-Group has changed through the years, alternatively describing them as wildlings subjugated by the Egyptians, hyper-masculine mercenaries employed by the Egyptians, and then noble freedom fighters engaged in resistance against Egyptian imperialism in Lower Nubia. The spectrum of possible responses to political aggression all fit onto a single axis that ranges from Defeat to Resistance. At every point on this axis, the oppressor, or would be oppressor, is projected into the center of the psychological world of the other people. Here, I put forth the possibility that political aggressors, like the Middle Kingdom Egyptians, may overestimate their importance in the lives and minds of their opponents. Even in colonialist and imperialist context, our interpretations must leave room for the way that people psychologically disengage from, or rename and refine, attempts at subjugation. Drawing from African American cultural experiences, I propose another axis of possible responses to political aggression that, instead of running from Defeat to Resistance, runs from Bothered to Unbothered. My position as a Black/African American compels me to critique the assumptions within narratives of resistance that assume C-Group people cared enough about Pharaoh to be bothered by him. The Unbothered axis broadens the possibilities for archaeological interpretations of culture contact, colonialism, and intergroup political aggression.