In this lecture, Dr Kate Simpson explores the RGS-IBG’s digital library to identify the African women in the expeditions of David Livingstone, to present alternate narratives of exploration through which these women can be restored, and to reinscribe their role within the historical archival record.
For example, women such as Halima, who Livingstone called the ‘best spoke in the wheel’ of his group (1874), will be talked about. Halima exemplifies women who are noted in the records of others, who had a background role in someone else’s narrative, or are women who we now know were there but are not mentioned in the official transcripts. Livingstone’s expeditions, like many explorers, involved multiple people with various agencies and differing motivations. In assessing and engaging with digitised manuscripts, journals, diaries, letters, and notebooks, Kate looks to uncover the muted narratives of women in the record of exploration.
Featured image: Maguana - formerly David Livingstone's servant Lilly Frere, RGS Images Online, 21/01/1877.
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