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Museums and Anthropology: Colonial and post-colonial collections seen through museums, art and history  
Vibha Joshi (University of Oxford)
SOAS Senate House - S208
Saturday 2 June, -, -, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

The panel brings together different disciplinary approaches to engaging with museum objects in their historical contexts, ranging from imperial, colonial and postcolonial eras to contemporary reimagining.

Long Abstract:

Presentations are by artists, anthropologists, museum curators and ethnographers who engage with local and global histories through study of object collections in public and private museums. Themes include: artistic exploration of the logic of permanent display and out-of-view storage of objects in a Victorian museum (Buerger); questioning the de-contextualization of an object in the process of its transfer from its creator/user to becoming an artefact in a meticulously catalogued collection (Schauffer) ; dialogue between curator and designer/maker on the art/artefact dichotomy, asking how a more holistic representations of objects can be achieved (Stoke-Rees & Leonard); visual artist's photography of magical objects taken during residency at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic and addressing diverse histories of formerly forbidden rites /belief systems (Hannant); curatorial strategy for displaying trade artefacts in a family-run museum in the politically sensitive India- Pakistan border region (Gupta); curatorial strategy for decolonizing collections and display in the National Museum of Kenya in order to communicate local histories and cultural identities (Wright); Re-engaging with Naga of north-eastern India from whom objects in the Oxford Pitt Rivers Museum were sourced during the colonial period and the effects of such engagement, including sharing with the people the digital images of the objects (Joshi); discussing the complex relationship between Danish colonial trading history and local notions of modernity and development with regard to the restoration of heritage buildings in Serampore, India, in a collaborative project of the National Museum of Denmark (Wolff).

Recognising the different historical trajectories, we seek also to identify similarities of method and explanatory framework.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Saturday 2 June, 2018, -