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Collaborative curation as a means to transgress Western epistemologies 
Diego Ballestero (Universität Bonn)
Erik Petschelies (University of São Paulo)
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Material Culture and Museums
Wednesday 23 June, 10:00-11:45 (UTC+3)

Short Abstract:

This panel examines how the participation of source communities in researches or curation at ethnographic museums is capable of rewriting histories of Anthropology, transgressing established western epistemological and ontological borders and displacing power relations in and around institutions.

Long Abstract

In recent decades, the interest of anthropologists in material culture and museums has been renewed. Driven by the Chilean roundtable in 1972, which reinforced the integration of museums and societies, the New Museology revised the social function of museums, allying itself with the decolonial processes that aroused criticism of museum environments by exposing their histories linked to colonial projects. Concomitantly with the demands for repatriation of ethnographic objects by native populations and the reevaluations of the collecting contexts undertook by museums, scholars began to engage in museological practices with native knowledge about objects that their societies produced. Thus, ethnographic museums have become places of symbolic and political dispute, being simultaneously objects and subjects of decolonial criticism. The potential of museological institutions to impact social environments, as well as to foster processes of cultural valorization, became fundamental to collaborative relations between museums and indigenous populations in Latin America and elsewhere. Collaborative curation carried out by academic and indigenous specialists is not only capable of rethinking musealization processes, but also of creating knowledge through intercultural dialogues. Therefore, the panel welcomes theoretical approaches and case studies that address, but are not limited to, the following questions: How the participation of source communities in curation or in researches at ethnographic museums is capable of transgressing hegemonic narratives of the history of anthropology? What are the consequences for traditional historiographies? What intercultural epistemologies and social changes result from collaborative curation? Were there any impacts in power relations established in or around museums?

Accepted papers: