The museum and heritage sector has been shaken by debates over how to address colonialism, migration, Islamophobia, LGBTI+ and multiple other forms of difference. This major multi-researcher ethnography of museums and heritage in Berlin provides new insight into how ›diversity‹ is understood and put into action in museums and heritage. Exploring new initiatives and approaches, the book shows how these work - or do not - in practice. By doing so, it highlights ways forward - for research and action - for the future. The fieldwork locations on which this book is based include the Humboldt Forum, the Museum of Islamic Art, the Museum für Naturkunde, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, as well as Berlin streets and protests.
How can we rethink anthropology beyond itself? In this book, twenty-one artists, anthropologists, and curators grapple with how anthropology has been formulated, thought, and practised ‘elsewhere’ and ‘otherwise’. They do so by unfolding ethnographic case studies from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland – and through conversations that expand these geographies and genealogies of contemporary exhibition-making. This collection considers where and how anthropology is troubled, mobilised, and rendered meaningful. Across Anthropology charts new ground by analysing the convergences of museums, curatorial practice, and Europe’s reckoning with its colonial legacies. Situated amid resurgent debates on nationalism and identity politics, this book addresses scholars and practitioners in fields spanning the arts, social sciences, humanities, and curatorial studies. Preface by Arjun Appadurai. Afterword by Roger Sansi Contributors: Arjun Appadurai (New York University), Annette Bhagwati (Museum Rietberg, Zurich), Clémentine Deliss (Berlin), Sarah Demart (Saint-Louis University, Brussels), Natasha Ginwala (Gropius Bau, Berlin), Emmanuel Grimaud (CNRS, Paris), Aliocha Imhoff and Kantuta Quirós (Paris), Erica Lehrer (Concordia University, Montreal), Toma Muteba Luntumbue (Ecole de Recherche Graphique, Brussels), Sharon Macdonald (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Wayne Modest (Research Center for Material Culture, Leiden), Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin), Margareta von Oswald (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Roger Sansi (Barcelona University), Alexander Schellow (Ecole de Recherche Graphique, Brussels), Arnd Schneider (University of Oslo), Anna Seiderer (University Paris 8), Nanette Snoep (Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne), Nora Sternfeld (Kunsthochschule Kassel), Anne-Christine Taylor (Paris), Jonas Tinius (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) Ebook available in Open Access. This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).
Material Culture in Transit: Theory and Practice constellates curators and scholars actively working with material culture within academic and museal institutions through theory and practice. The rich collection of essays critically addresses the multivalent ways in which mobility reshapes the characteristics of artefacts, specifically under prevailing issues of representation and colonial liabilities. The volume attests to material culture as central to understanding the repercussions of problematic histories and proposes novel ways to address them. It is valuable reading for scholars of anthropology, museum studies, history and others with an interest in material culture.
Introduction kihawahine : the future in the past -- Hawaiian feathered cloaks and Mayan sculptures : collecting origins -- The Haida crest pole and the Nootka eagle mask : hypercollecting -- Benin bronzes : colonial questions -- Guatemalan textiles : persisting global networks -- The Yup'ik flying-swan mask : the past in the future -- Epilogue : harnessing Humboldt.
Reckoning with colonial legacies in Western museum collections What are the possibilities and limits of engaging with colonialism in ethnological museums? This book addresses this question from within the Africa department of the Ethnological Museum in Berlin. It captures the Museum at a moment of substantial transformation, as it prepared the move of its exhibition to the Humboldt Forum, a newly built and contested cultural centre on Berlin’s Museum Island. The book discusses almost a decade of debate in which German colonialism was negotiated, and further recognised, through conflicts over colonial museum collections. Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork examining the Museum’s various work practices, this book highlights the Museum’s embeddedness in colonial logics and shows how these unfold in the Museum’s everyday activity. It addresses the diverse areas of expertise in the Ethnological Museum – the preservation, storage, curation, and research of collections – and also draws on archival research and oral history interviews with current and former employees. Working through Colonial Collections unravels the ongoing and laborious processes of reckoning with colonialism in the Ethnological Museum’s present – processes from which other ethnological museums, as well as Western museums more generally, can learn.
The Berlin Sound Archive (Lautarchiv) consists of an extensive collection of sound recordings, compiled for scientific purposes in the first half of the 20th century. Recorded on shellac are stories and songs, personal testimonies and poems, glossaries and numbers. This book engages with the archive by consistently focusing on recordings produced under colonial conditions. With a firm commitment to postcolonial scholarship, Absent Presences in the Colonial Archive is a historical ethnography of a metropolitan institution that participated in the production and preservation of colonial structures of power and knowledge. The book examines sound objects and listening practices that render the coloniality of knowledge fragile and inconsistent, revealing the absent presences of colonial subjects who are given little or no place in established national narratives and collective memories.
The field of Sound Studies has changed and developed dramatically over the last two decades involving a vast and dizzying array of work produced by those working in the arts, social sciences and sciences. The study of sound is inherently interdisciplinary and is undertaken both by those who specialize in sound and by others who wish to include sound as an intrinsic and indispensable element in their research. This is the first resource to provide a wide ranging, cross-cultural and interdisciplinary investigation and analysis of the ways in which researchers use a broad range of methodologies in order to pursue their sonic investigations. It brings together 49 specially commissioned chapters that ask a wide range of questions including; how can sound be used in current academic disciplines? Is sound as a methodological tool indispensable for Sound Studies and what can sound artists contribute to the discourse on methodology in Sound Studies? The editors also present 3 original chapters that work as provocative 'sonic methodological interventions' prefacing the 3 sections of the book.
European archives hold historical voice recordings that were produced by linguists, ethnologists and musicologists during colonial rule in African countries. While these recordings reverberate with the polyphonic echoes of colonial knowledge production, to date, acoustic collections have rarely been consulted as sources of colonial history. In this book Anette Hoffman engages with a Southern African audio-visual collection, which is located in five different institutions across Vienna, Austria. Several recordings collected by the anthropologist Rudolf Pöch in August 1908 have been retranslated for this book. These translations provide new insights into Pöch’s collecting expedition to the Kalahari. Pöch’s narrative of his heroic journey is called into question by the Naro speakers’ comments, which address colonial violence and criticise the research practices of the anthropologist. By attending to the spoken texts on the recordings and reconnecting them to photographs, ethnographic objects, archival documentation and Pöch’s travelogue, Hoffmann offers a different reading of this research trip into a war zone.
The voices in this book offer a multi-perspectival approach to Africa, focusing on the skills and the knowledge underpinning visual cultural expressions ranging from Akan symbolism to embodied performances by dancers and storytellers, even re-designed models of Western cars. Educators, designers, artists, critics, curators, and custodians based both in Africa and in Europe are configuring spaces for public, private, institutional as well as digital conversation – whether through pottery or portraiture, furniture or film, shoes or selfies, buildings or books. Readers are encouraged to question how African visual cultures are both ‘in’ and ‘of’; identifying and confrontational; post- and decolonial; preserved and practised; old and new; borrowed and authentic; composite and complete; rooted and soaring. Disciplines being engaged include visual culture studies, media studies, performance studies, orature, literature, art and design – as well as their histories. The editors Mary Clare Kidenda, Lize Kriel and Ernst Wagner represent three nodes in the Exploring Visual Cultures north-south collaborative network: The Technical University of Kenya, the University of Pretoria in South Africa and Munich Academy of Fine Arts in Germany.