Peter R. Schmidt is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and African Studies at the University of Florida, where he served as Director of African Studies for seven years. He is also Extraordinary Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He holds degrees in History (Stanford, Honors, BA); African History and African Studies (UCLA, MA), and African History and Archaeology (Northwestern, PhD). He has held positions at Brown University (1971-1988), University of California at Berkeley (1984), University of Dar es Salaam (1985—87), University of Florida (1988—2021), University of Asmara (1998—99, 2001--2003), where he served as Dean of the Faculty, and Kelaniya University in Colombo, Sri Lanka (2013, 2016). During his career he has devoted significant time and commitment to the improvement of African capacities to study and represent the African past by launching and building a teaching and research program in archaeology at the UDSM, and then an Archaeology and Anthropology Department at the University of Asmara. He is the author or editor of fifteen book and scores of articles and book chapters on African archaeology, technology, postcolonial perspectives, oral traditions, heritage, history, human rights, and community research in heritage and archaeology. Throughout his career he has consistently practiced two key principles: that archaeology has the power to change how African history is constructed, transforming African visions of the present and future; and, to constantly seek understandings of African theories of the past.


Professor Schmidt was awarded the prestigious Peter Ucko Memorial Award by the World Archaeological Congress in 2016 for his contributions to the development of archaeology and human rights education in Africa. He has been responsible for the higher degree training of a dozen African scholars. He continues research in critical heritage studies in Tanzania, examining community initiatives through transparent accounts that unveil both positive and adverse impacts. He leads an active collaborative research program in Uganda that examines the early settlement, environmental impacts, economy, and population origins in the Crater Lakes Region, East of the Rwenzori Mountains.


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