About DCNtR:
DECOLONIZING COLLECTIONS – NETWORKING TOWARDS RELATIONALITY   Decolonizing – This blog is aimed at decentering the debate on colonial and ethnographic collections, archives, and museums. Its goal is to rethink colonial knowledges and dominant epistemic practices in an attempt to undo them. We seek to destabilize center-periphery divisions by providing a platform for diverse voices […]

2018-2023. 5 Years of Making and Debating Restitution
Cologne Crossroads Conversation No. 1 with Bénédicte Savoy (Berlin) and Ciraj Rassool (Cape Town) - Livestream on Dec 6 at 6pm
The conversation will be bilingual (English/German). Watch it live on December 6, 2023 at 6pm here: For over 100 years, societies in the Global South have been fighting for the return of confiscated and looted cultural objects and human remains that are stored and researched in Europe. The speech by French President Emmanuel Macron in […]

The Astonishing Fate of Soliman al-Halabi (1777-1800)
Or the Request for Post-Mortem Naturalization of Kléber's Assassin Formulated by an Exiled Syrian Collective
The aim of this article is to contribute to the discussion on the restitution of looted property in a colonial context. As such, it is one of a series of articles on claims for restitution, the atypical nature of which sheds light on the symbolic dimension activated by these cases, whether involving human remains or […]

Thinking About the Archive & Provenance Research
The Boasblogs Paper No. 4 is Now Available Online
In the debate about the colonial past of ethnographic museums in Western Europe, provenance research has emerged as a central method for researching colonial legacies and addressing museums’ need for decolonisation. Researchers have started to investigate colonial era collections systematically to create a sound basis for dealing with these collections in the future. As a […]

Der „erste deutsche Elefant“: eine Geschichte der Extraktion
Nicht nur ethnologische, medizinhistorische und geographische Logiken des „Sammelns“ unter kolonialen Bedingungen werden gegenwärtig neu untersucht und in ihrer scheinbaren „Normalität“ dezentriert. Auch die Sammlungen von Naturkundemuseen, Tierparks und Zoos werden kritisch befragt.[1] Im folgenden Beitrags wird die Geschichte eines Elefanten aus der damaligen deutschen Kolonie Kamerun skizziert, der auf Bestellung des damaligen Zoo-Direktors Ludwig […]

Introduction: Transforming the Post/Colonial Museum
DCNtR Debate #3. The Post/Colonial Museum
The Post/Colonial Museum. Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften, 2022. ISBN: 978-3-8376-5397-7. Covergraphik Post-Museen, Anna Habaschy aka Minaechx Much has been said in recent years about the colonial origin and enduring legacy of former “anthropological” or imperial museums. Programmatic attempts to decolonize them by opening up (Snoep 2020, 2021), worlding (Modest et al. 2019, de Cesari et al. 2020), […]

Evidence and Fiction: An Untimely Alliance with the Photography Archive of Margot Dias and Jorge Dias
The work of the Portuguese ethnologist António Jorge Dias (Porto, 31 July 1907 – Lisbon, 1973) and his wife and collaborator Margot Dias (Nuremberg, 4 June 1908 – Oeiras, 2003), a German national, important also for its sheer volume, produced a very abundant quantity of archival materials. Nevertheless, Portuguese anthropology’s history has assessed the work […]

The ›Mystery‹ of the Konkomba’s Severed Thumbs: Historical Fact, Colonial Rumour or Legend of the Defeated?
DCNtR Debate #3. The Post/Colonial Museum
»Forgetting and remembering are equally inventive.« Jorge Luis Borges (1970)  The former ethnographic museum could reinvent itself by exhibiting not only objects but also stories. It is important to allow for anti-colonial resistance to be expressed in a variety of forms, in which the biographical dimension of the narrators is to be taken into consideration. […]

Trafficking Vague Cosmological Boundaries: Towards Knowing Experiential Relationality in Museum Epistemics
DCNtR Debate #3. The Post/Colonial Museum
This article seeks inspiration in engaging with African art works displayed amongst sculptures and paintings from European pasts in Berlin’s Bode Museum 2017–2019. Concepts at play in designing that exhibition, deriving from both history and philosophy of art and anthropology, expressed a modern spacetime cosmology. As is the modern way, it focussed on what it […]

Eugen Zintgraff’s Diary as a Document of Theft and Destruction of Art Treasures in the Colonial Context
DCNtR Debate #3. The Post/Colonial Museum
Eugen Zintgraff (1858/Düsseldorf – 1897/Tenerife) was a ›prominent‹ explorer in the early years of German colonization of Cameroon (Nkui Nchoji 1989), whose name is deeply rooted in the local collective or grassroots memory (Tsogang Fossi 2019). It is also linked to many cultural or zoological objects as well as human remains, namely skulls, currently in […]

Problematic Museum Heritage in a Postcolonial Context: The Case of the Moto Moto Museum Chisungu Collection
DCNtR Debate #3. The Post/Colonial Museum
Introduction Chisungu is a female puberty initiation ceremony practiced by most ethnic groups in Zambia, but predominantly by the Bemba of Northern Zambia. While these rites are still practiced in some form today, their nature and conduct is significantly different from which was observed and recorded by anthropologists and missionaries during the colonial period.[1] During […]