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Accepted Paper:

Across Anthropology. Troubling colonial legacies, museums, and the curatorial  
Margareta von Oswald (Humboldt-Universit├Ąt zu Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

How can we theorise the convergences across activism, politics, and curatorial practice with view to trans-European postcolonial reckoning?

Paper long abstract:

Departing from a long-term research and publication project entitled 'Across Anthropology', this paper analyses convergent challenges and reformulations of anthropology, anthropological museums, and their colonial legacies throughout a re-nationalising Europe. Focusing on fieldwork in Berlin (Germany), and drawing on further case studies from Tervuren and Brussels (Belgium), Paris (France), Rome (Italy), Krakow (Poland), Leiden and Amsterdam (Netherlands), this input argues that curatorial practice and theorising has offered noticeable and impactful ways of translating across academic, activist, and artistic knowledges pertinent to the above transformations. In what one could call 'transversal agency', the curatorial has become a field, which - while not seldom inspired by anthropology - crucially offers striking rebuttals and reformulations of what decolonial research and practice in and with institutions could look like. Berlin's Humboldt Forum and its international reception have catalysed the reckoning with Germany's colonial pasts in an ambiguous, and perhaps uncomfortably fashionable, way. This paper unravels and discusses these developments in Berlin with view to curatorial agency and creative refusal of larger hegemonical heritage narratives, both from within anthropology museums and through work in independent art spaces. It thus offers a reflexive and comparative take on curating the colonial across Europe today. The contribution is jointly conceived by Jonas Tinius and Margareta von Oswald, editors of 'Across Anthropology' (Leuven University Press, 2020, open-access).

Panel P179
Curating the (post)colonial in Europe and beyond
  Session 1 Wednesday 22 July, 2020, -