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 […]
Restitution of African Artifacts: The Next Step, a New Relational Ethic
Museum Collections in Motion Evening Keynote by Felwine Sarr (Saint-Louis)
“Bringing home our Gods”
Nationalistic and Populistic Dangers in Debates about Heritage Restitution in India
“I belong to my People” Support @IndiaPrideProj Recent years have witnessed overall debates about the legitimacy and the future of the museum, especially of the ethnographic museum. An important reason for this is the question of provenance. How did the objects we encounter when visiting a museum get there and what does that mean? These […]
Palace Museums in the Cameroon Grassfields
Sites of Inclusion, Exclusion, and Alienation
In an average year, the museums in the Cameroon Grassfields host a wide range of visitors including international tourists and expats, members of the diaspora who return home to visit, students, academic researchers, and Cameroonians interested in art and culture. The Grassfields museums consciously set out to serve the needs and expectations of these local […]
Challenges of rewriting the Khomani San/Bushman archive at Iziko Museums of South Africa
After many years of discussion and deliberation the controversial Ethnographic Gallery at Iziko South African Museum was finally de-installed on 15 September 2017. The response to the decision elicited an interesting and conflicting range of responses. Several members of the public, including Khoisan descendants, complained about the closure, while a number of Khoisan chiefs and Khoisan […]
The Crisis of Anthropological Museums from the Perspective of an Anthropology of Museums, and some Remarks on the Agency of Restitution Conceived as a Restitution of Agency
(July 2019) (1.) Apart from royal societies and their art, f.i. Benin Bronze sculptures, most African ritual objects were not preserved for eternity or for permanent preservation, but were made for their cyclical reproduction and renewal in new artefacts. Once objects fell out of ritual use or were damaged by use, they were destroyed or […]
A Contamination of Provenance?
The Relevance of Extended Materialities to Provenance Research and Restitution Processes. Examples from the Linden Museum Stuttgart
Figure 1: the whip and bible ascribed to Hendrik Witbooi once prepared for transport to Namibia (February 2019, Linden Museum, photograph: Dominik Drasdow). In 2013, the Ministry of Sciences, Research and Art of Baden-Württemberg, in cooperation with the Linden Museum, initiated the process with Namibian counterparts that would lead to the restitution of the […]
SOMETHING GRAVE HAPPENED AND IMPERIAL RULE OF LAW IS SUSTAINING IT!
In 1897 a great tragedy befell the kingdom of Benin when a British punitive expedition looted the treasury of treasures in the royal palace and plundered artefacts including those of great spirituality to the Bini people. Benin kingdom is now part of Nigeria and since Independence in 1960 Nigeria and also the Benin Royal Court […]
A postcolonial moment in analytic engagement with museum ethnographic collections?
• A postcolonial moment emerges as happenings of political, cultural and epistemic work in institutional and organisational settings—it is passage, trajectory, going-on inflected in particular ways. • Postcolonialism is not a stoppage or reversal of colonialism, rather a re-gathering and diverting. It is using resources at hand, albeit in some way an outcome of the […]
“Stolen from Africa?”: Statement by the Basel Workshop on Namibian Cultural Heritage in Switzerland
by the Basel Workshop „Stolen from Africa? Restitution of Namibian Cultural Heritage in Switzerland“, 8 May 2019, organised by the Centre of African Studies of the University of Basel and the Basler Afrika Bibliographien in collaboration with the Swiss Society of African Studies and the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences Colonial heritage and, […]
Tribal Displays: Colonial Repositories and Community Reconciliation
The practices of a new museology have recently raised debates involving public forums and dialogues. However, these transformation processes have also sought to rethink museum practices in remaking persons and remaking society. The practice of displaying ethnic groups in the museum builds on the debates of decolonising museums especially of those having ethnographic artefacts. Having […]