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Justin Dunnavant (UC Los Angeles) & Ayana Flewellen (UC Riverside)

**Due to COVID restrictions, only UCSD students and employees will be allowed to attend the class in person. All others must attend remotely via Zoom. Capacity is limited to first-come first-serve.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at 4:00 P.M.*
Design and Innovation Building (DIB), 2nd Floor Large Event Room #202

Note: The Design and Innovation Building (DIB) is located adjacent to the Structural and Materials Engineering Building on Pepper Canyon Lane

*There will be an optional outdoor reception from 5:00 – 5:45 P.M on the DIB 2nd Floor Terrace. Desserts and refreshments provided. UCSD students, employees, and external guests are welcome to attend.

**This will be hybrid event. For those attending remotely, please register via Zoom using the “Register Here” button at the top.


Spectral Registers From the Black Hadal

Drs. Ayana Flewellen and Justin Dunnavant are co-founders of the Society of Black Archaeologists and AAUS Scientific Scuba Divers. In recent years, working with organizations such as Diving With a Purpose and the Slave Wrecks Project have brought about critical questions regarding the documentation, interpretation, and commemoration of African diaspora maritime heritage. How does one commemorate the unknowable loss that occurred across the Atlantic Ocean? What memories and materiality does the ocean hold? What does it mean to chart Black history horizontally across waterscapes and vertically into the depths of the “Black Hadal”? How can we rethink modes of memorialization that account for unique aspects of marine environments? This presentation touches on previous attempts to commemorate African diaspora maritime heritage sites and events while also anticipating new possibilities. Theoretically, spectral registers are conceptualized as the ungeographic and haunting nature of African diaspora maritime heritage sites, which are largely undocumented and understudied. Playing with water as both metaphor and literal geography, we explore methods that illuminate these waterscapes and provide new fluid understandings of African diasporic experiences across the Americas.


Justin Dunnavant, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Anthropology
University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Justin Dunnavant is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UCLA. His current research in the US Virgin Islands investigates the relationship between ecology and enslavement in the former Danish West Indies. In addition to his archaeological research, Justin is co-founder of the Society of Black Archaeologists and an AAUS Scientific SCUBA Diver. In 2021, he was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and inducted into The Explorers Club as one of “Fifty People Changing the World that You Need to Know About.” He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. His research has been featured on Netflix’s “Explained,” Hulu’s “Your Attention Please” and in print in American Archaeology and Science Magazine.

Ayana Omilade Flewellen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Anthropology
UC Riverside

Ayana Omilade Flewellen (they/she) is a Black Feminist, an archaeologist, a storyteller, and an artist. As a scholar of anthropology and African and African Diaspora Studies, Flewellen’s intellectual genealogy is shaped by critical theory rooted in Black feminist epistemology and pedagogy. This epistemological backdrop not only constructs the way she designs, conducts and produces her scholarship but acts as foundational to how she advocates for greater diversity within the field of archaeology and within the broader scope of academia. Flewellen is the co-founder and current President of the Society of Black Archaeologists and sits on the Board of Diving With A Purpose.  She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside. Her research and teaching interests address Black Feminist Theory, historical archaeology, maritime heritage conservation, public and community-engaged archaeology, processes of identity formations, and representations of slavery. Flewellen has been featured in National Geographic, Science Magazine, PBS and CNN; and regularly presents her work at institutions including The National Museum for Women in the Arts.


Design@Large is a speaker series hosted by The Design Lab at UC San Diego, where each quarter we examine a topic in society and the relevance and implications through the lens of human centered design.

Our theme this quarter is “Rebels, Revolutionaries & Risk takers”.

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