Matthew Knisley
Matthew Knisley Office: Phone: Email
2018-19 CISSR Dissertation Fellow, 2019-20 CISSR Dissertation Fellow

Dissertation: “An Archaeology of the ‘Natural’: Historical Landscapes of the Sandawe Homeland, Central Tanzania” 

His doctoral research uses archaeological, paleoenvironmental, and historical evidence of the last 2,000 years of what is now the Sandawe homeland of central Tanzania to recast understandings of the transition from foraging to food production in the region. Rather than an ecologically undisturbed hinterland inhabited by foragers until the late pre-colonial era, as typically portrayed, Matthew’s dissertation argues that foodways, residential patterns, and exchange networks in the region were both longstanding and complex. The project speaks to ongoing methodological debates about the interdisciplinary study of prehistory, serves as an exemplar of how archaeological evidence can be leveraged to understand the historical relationships between foragers and food-producers, and advances scholarship on human-environment relations through time. His research has been funded by: the Wenner-Gren Foundation; the Fulbright-Hays and Fulbright-IIE Programs; and the University of Chicago (the Department of Anthropology; the Committee on African Studies; the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture; and the Center for International Social Science Research). At the University of Chicago, Matthew has taught courses on anthropology, environmental studies, social theory, and colonialism.