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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
Overriding politics and injustices
Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha

In October 2011, twenty skulls of the Herero and Nama people were repatriated from Germany to Namibia. So far, fifty-five skulls and two human skeletons have been repatriated to Namibia and preparations for the return of more skulls from Germany were at an advanced stage at the time of writing this article. Nonetheless, the skulls and skeletons that were returned from Germany in the past have been disappointingly laden with complexities and politics, to such an extent that they have not yet been handed over to their respective communities for mourning and burials. In this context, this article seeks to investigate the practice of ‘anonymising’ the presence of human remains in society by exploring the art and politics of the Namibian state’s memory production and sanctioning in enforcing restrictions on the affected communities not to perform, as they wish, their cultural and ritual practices for the remains of their ancestors.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
The fate of Namibian skulls in the Alexander Ecker Collection in Freiburg
Reinhart Kößler

This article explores the history of the Alexander Ecker Collection and situates it within the larger trajectory of global collecting of human remains during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This is then linked to the specific context of the genocide in then German South West Africa (1904–8), with the central figure of Eugen Fischer. The later trajectory of the collection leads up to the current issues of restitution. The Freiburg case is instructive since it raises issues about the possibilities and limitations of provenance research. At the same time, the actual restitution of fourteen human remains in 2014 occurred in a way that sparked serious conflict in Namibia which is still on-going four years later. In closing, exigencies as well as pressing needs in connection with the repatriation and (where possible) rehumanisation of human remains are discussed.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Transnational dynamics in post-genocidal restitutions
Elise Pape

Taking its starting point from a socio-anthropological study combining biographical interviews, semi-structured interviews and ethnographic observations collected between 2016 and 2018 in Germany, France and the United States among Ovaherero and Nama activists, and also members of different institutions and associations, this article focuses on the question of human remains in the current struggle for recognition and reparation of the genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama from a transnational perspective. First, the text shows the ways in which the memory of human remains can be considered as a driving force in the struggle of the affected communities. Second, it outlines the main points of mismatches of perspective between descendants of the survivors and the responsible museums during past restitutions of human remains from German anthropological collections. Third, the article more closely examines the resources of Ovaherero in the United States in the struggle for recognition and reparation, the recent discovery of Namibian human remains in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the questions that it raises.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
The victims' struggle for recognition and recurring genocide memories in Namibia
Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha

197 8 The return of Herero and Nama bones from Germany: the victims’ struggle for recognition and recurring genocide memories in Namibia Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha Introduction In April 1904, General Adrian Dietrich Lothar von Trotha delivered his infamous order to exterminate the Herero and Nama people.1 The ‘Vernichtungsbefehl’, or extermination order, signifies Imperial Germany’s military response to the Herero and Nama popular revolts against Germany’s confiscation and domination of indigenous land. Close to 100,000 Herero and 20,000 Nama, mainly women and

in Human remains in society
Abstract only
Pan-African Revolutionary
Maureen Isaacson

South West Africa, published in 1963, First was placed under house arrest on her return to Johannesburg. Namibia – then South West Africa – was under South African rule, although the League of Nations, responsible for handing the mandate to South Africa after the First World War (1914–18), had been replaced by the United Nations in 1945. The case was, at the time of her writing, before the International Court of Justice in the Hague. This first work on Namibia’s history from an anti-colonial perspective was well received. 39 Here were

in The Pan-African Pantheon
Johanna Söderström

an important backdrop to the rest of the book, particularly in relation to any similarities in the political lives of the former combatants. First, Namibia. The conflict and war there were long. After the First World War, Namibia (then South West Africa) had been administered by South Africa, and then after the Second World War South Africa implemented apartheid rule in Namibia. There was resistance to South African rule, due in part to the system of migrant labor, and in April 1960 exiled resistance leaders (including Sam Nujoma) established

in Living politics after war
Abstract only
Pan-African Politician and Diplomat
W. Andy Knight

accreditation to Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Namibia. 13 His fight for social justice and human rights had already earned him the nickname “Burning Spear”, a sobriquet given to him by Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta. But as his diplomatic career blossomed, Thompson became an advocate for reparations for slavery, and cemented his place at the centre of the Pan-African movement. As the editor-at-large of the Jamaica Observer , H.G. Helps, put it, Thompson’s dream was to see “a federation or confederation of Africa”. Thompson himself expressed this hope, suggesting that there

in The Pan-African Pantheon