15/05/21
 
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 […]

06/18/22
Iconoclash in the GRASSI Museum
Seeking publicity for an international museum crisis by way of a damaged pedestal
The current debate surrounding colonial collections has unleashed a veritable feud in and around ethnological museums, which pits reformers and preservationists against one another, seemingly irreconcilably. In feuilletons, newsletters, and mailing lists, voices are growing ever shriller, and the means employed ever harsher, as peers and colleagues attack each another and seek to mobilize audiences […]

Decolonizing Provenance Research in Practice. Some Guidelines
DCNtR Debate #2. Thinking About the Archive & Provenance Research
With increased public and professional calls to re-examine collecting, many museums have renewed commitments to provenance research. Provenance research raises pressing ethical questions: to whom should cultural heritage belong? How can museums equitably address unethical historical collecting practices? Provenance cannot necessarily answer these questions but sharing provenance information allows museums to tell more nuanced stories […]

Collections, Archives, Repositories. Thoughts about Terminology from a Peripheral Ethnological Collection
DCNtR Debate #2. Thinking About the Archive & Provenance Research
As Brian M. Watson recently argued, the “archive” should not “refer to, well, just about anything”. Apart from muddying the waters and confusing what an actual archive is and what the people working there, archivists, do, it is of particular importance for the emerging re-engagement with ethnological museum collections in the context of provenance research. […]

“Sensitivity” at Work. A Double-Edged Sword
DCNtR Debate #2. Thinking About the Archive & Provenance Research
“Cultural sensitivity” has emerged as a central, though ambivalent, concept in my archival work of the past twenty years. Thereby, my experience has been markedly influenced by my regional focus on North America. Here, socio-political changes led to the passing of laws such as the Indian Religious Freedom Act and the Native Grave Protection and […]

Provenance Research before Repatriation: The Limits of Museums’ Archives
DCNtR Debate #2. Thinking About the Archive & Provenance Research
As calls for cultural objects’ repatriations[1] are increasing and museums are being confronted with the colonial aspects of their collections and of the institution itself, one of the responses from the museum world is to highlight the need for research and documentation. The argument is that in order to know what to return, one needs […]

04/05/22
Archives Research on Chinese Government’s Preparation for the 1935 Royal Academy International Exhibition of Chinese Art
DCNtR Debate #2. Thinking About the Archive & Provenance Research
Fig. 1. The Poster of the 1935 International Exhibition of Chinese Art. Courtesy to the Royal Academy of Arts. The International Exhibition of Chinese Art (hereinafter 1935 Exhibition) was held at Burlington House, London, from 28 November 1935 to 6 March 1936.[1] As “one of a sequence of national art shows” at the Royal Academy […]

What’s the Use of the Archive? Questions of locality, accessibility, and digitalisation
DCNtR Debate #2. Thinking About the Archive & Provenance Research
Case 1 My (Larissa) first confrontation with issues surrounding the decolonisation and locality of archives between the Global North and South took place in 2018, through my visits to a private Nigerian archive.[1] When I boarded the airplane, I did not know of the existence of this archive yet. Once I had arrived at my […]

Documenting Coloniality
DCNtR Debate #2. Thinking About the Archive & Provenance Research
Ethnographic collecting in the late 19th and early 20th century was a method of colonial knowledge production and served the narrative of European cultural and scientific dominance. We understand ethnographic museums themselves as colonial archives. Although they are always incomplete and biased, as such, they are promising historical sources for the investigation of certain persons’ […]

03/24/22
The Gender of Ethnographic Collecting
The boasblogs paper no. 3 is now available online

01/18/22
49th Cologne Media Conversations and Master Class
PHOTOGRAPHS AND THE PRACTICE OF HISTORIES by Elizabeth Edwards (De Montfort University)
We kindly invite you to the 49th Cologne Media Conversations of the Zentrum für Medienwissenschaften und Moderne Forschung (MeMO) at the University of Cologne. The lecture will be held this time by esteemed visual and historical anthropologist Elizabeth Edwards on »Photographs and the Practice of Histories«   CMC Master Class, Thursday, 20 January, 6.00 – […]