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Jette Sandahl

5 Curating across the colonial divides Jette Sandahl Long live the excavation ban Listen for a moment to the Swedish explorer Erland Nordenskiöld as he talks to himself, in 1902, in diaries and letters, in the tropical nights of Latin America:1 When darkness falls, which it does swiftly in the tropics, we take our spades and go down the hillside. There is a terrible atmosphere over such a grave plundering at night time. Sometimes it is deadly quiet and in the humid heat half naked diggers work; sometimes someone throws in a raw joke to encourage himself and the

in Curatopia
Results of the Charité Human Remains Project
Holger Stoecker and Andreas Winkelmann

From 2010 to 2013 the Charité Human Remains Project researched the provenance of the remains of fifty-seven men and women from the then colony of German South West Africa. They were collected during German colonial rule, especially but not only during the colonial war 1904–8. The remains were identified in anthropological collections of academic institutions in Berlin. The article describes the history of these collections, the aims, methods and interdisciplinary format of provenance research as well as its results and finally the restitutions of the remains to Namibia in 2011 and 2014.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Colonialism, grave robbery and intellectual history
Larissa Förster, Dag Henrichsen, Holger Stoecker and Hans Axasi╪Eichab

In 1885, the Berlin pathologist Rudolf Virchow presented three human skeletons from the colony of German South West Africa to the Berlin Society for Anthropology, Ethnology and Prehistory. The remains had been looted from a grave by a young German scientist, Waldemar Belck, who was a member of the second Lüderitz expedition and took part in the occupation of colonial territory. In an attempt to re-individualise and re-humanise these human remains, which were anonymised in the course of their appropriation by Western science, the authors consult not only the colonial archive, but also contemporary oral history in Namibia. This allows for a detailed reconstruction of the social and political contexts of the deaths of the three men, named Jacobus Hendrick, Jacobus !Garisib and Oantab, and of Belck’s grave robbery, for an analysis of how the remains were turned into scientific objects by German science and institutions, as well as for an establishment of topographical and genealogical links with the Namibian present. Based on these findings, claims for the restitution of African human remains from German institutions cannot any longer be regarded as a contemporary phenomenon only but must be understood as part of an African tradition of resistance against Western colonial and scientific practices.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
John Harries, Linda Fibiger, Joan Smith, Tal Adler and Anna Szöke

This article will query the ethics of making and displaying photographs of human remains. In particular, we will focus on the role of photography in constituting human remains as specimens, and the centrality of the creation and circulation of photographic images to the work of physical anthropology and bioarchaeology. This work has increasingly become the object of ethical scrutiny, particularly in the context of a (post)colonial politics of recognition in which indigenous people seek to recover dominion over their looted material heritage, including the remains of their dead. This ethical concern extends to the question of how and under what circumstances we may display photographs of human remains. Moreover, this is not just a matter of whether and when we should or should not show photographs of the remains of the dead. It is a question of how these images are composed and produced. Our discussion of the ethics of the image is, therefore, indivisible from a consideration of the socio-technical process by which the photographic image is produced, circulated and consumed.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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Museums and the future of curatorship

What is the future of curatorial practice? How can the relationships between Indigenous people in the Pacific, collections in Euro-American institutions and curatorial knowledge in museums globally be (re)conceptualised in reciprocal and symmetrical ways? Is there an ideal model, a ‘curatopia’, whether in the form of a utopia or dystopia, which can enable the reinvention of ethnographic museums and address their difficult colonial legacies? This volume addresses these questions by considering the current state of the play in curatorial practice, reviewing the different models and approaches operating in different museums, galleries and cultural organisations around the world, and debating the emerging concerns, challenges and opportunities. The subject areas range over native and tribal cultures, anthropology, art, history, migration and settler culture, among others. Topics covered include: contemporary curatorial theory, new museum trends, models and paradigms, the state of research and scholarship, the impact of new media and current issues such as curatorial leadership, collecting and collection access and use, exhibition development and community engagement. The volume is international in scope and covers three broad regions – Europe, North America and the Pacific. The contributors are leading and emerging scholars and practitioners in their respective fields, all of whom have worked in and with universities and museums, and are therefore perfectly placed to reshape the dialogue between academia and the professional museum world.

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The museum in the twentieth century
Samuel J.M.M. Alberti

Nature and Culture apart from the germinal works of museum history mentioned in the introduction. The Foucauldian, post-structuralist and post-colonial approaches to museology adumbrated in the 1990s set the historiographical agenda and prompted a new generation of historically-informed museum studies. In writing this book, my aim had not been to extend these areas of scholarship, but rather to complement them. Where museum studies in the last two decades have addressed the role of museums in state-level governance, here I have explored an intermediary level of control

in Nature and culture
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Collecting networks and the museum
Samuel J.M.M. Alberti

number of these specimens were of local origin; others arrived from elsewhere in Northern England, sent to Manchester rather than elsewhere because of the gravity of donation. Qualitatively, however, the most significant routes to the Museum were those that ran the length and breadth of the empire. It is widely acknowledged that museums benefited from and were complicit in 94 Nature and culture the colonial enterprise.20 It may not have been initiated by the nature and culture of empire, but the Manchester Museum was certainly consolidated by colonial material. It

in Nature and culture
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A Tongan ‘akau in New England
Ivan Gaskell

purpose was to preserve historically significant properties, initially with an emphasis on the colonial and early US periods. The name it bore until recently indicates that its foundational values emphasise the dominant settler culture. It has long been and continues to be highly significant and respected in terms of historic preservation, interpretation and the production of excellent material culture scholarship. Yet, as one might expect, some New Englanders, whose properties have come into the care of Historic New England, acquired things from well beyond New England

in Curatopia
Anthony Alan Shelton

. Conversely, for their North Baroque modernity American or European hosts, exhibitions like these, by bringing culture and trade together, although implicitly recalling colonial history, also reexpressed the supposed cultural rewards of neo-liberal political and economic co-operation. State-sponsored exhibitions redefine and dramatise national images and amplify cultural differences while supressing or excluding other images and relationships.27 Early treasure and exotic exhibition genres, which converted archaeological objects into national icons, often emphasised

in Curatopia
An epistemology of postcolonial debate
Larissa Förster and Friedrich von Bose

3 Concerning curatorial practice in ethnological museums: an epistemology of postcolonial debates Larissa Förster and Friedrich von Bose Debating ethnological museums in the German-speaking world1 Since the early 2000s, ethnological museums have come under increased scrutiny in the German-speaking world, as elsewhere.2 While in North America, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand they have had to confront and react to postcolonial critiques for much longer, colonial history has only comparatively recently started to enter public discourse and the politics of

in Curatopia