Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Across Anthropology

Troubling Colonial Legacies, Museums, and the Curatorial

Margareta von Oswald (Editor), Jonas Tinius (Editor), Arjun Appadurai (Preface by), Roger Sansi (Afterword by),

Category: Anthropology, Art, Diversity and Equity Studies, Media and Visual Culture, Museum and Heritage Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Social Science

Language: English

ISBN: 9789462702189

Publication date: June 18, 2020

€45.00 (including 6% VAT)

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Number of pages: 432

Size: 234 x 156 x 28 mm

Number of illustrations: 30

Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content

Funded by: KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access
Humboldt Universität

Stock item: 135277

Standard delivery time for print books:

For Belgium: 5 to 8 working days

For EU: 2 to 3 weeks

For other countries: 4 to 5 weeks

Number of pages: 432

Number of illustrations: 30

Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content

Funded by: KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access
Humboldt Universität

Number of pages: 432

Number of illustrations: 30

Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content

Funded by: KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access
Humboldt Universität


Reframing anthropology: contemporary art, curatorial practice, postcolonial activism, and museumsHow can we rethink anthropology beyond itself? In this book, twenty-one artists, anthropologists, and curators grapple with how anthropology has been formulated, thought, and practised ‘elsewhere’ and ‘otherwise’. They do so by unfolding ethnographic case studies from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland – and through conversations that expand these geographies and genealogies of contemporary exhibition-making. This collection considers where and how anthropology is troubled, mobilised, and rendered meaningful.

Across Anthropology charts new ground by analysing the convergences of museums, curatorial practice, and Europe’s reckoning with its colonial legacies. Situated amid resurgent debates on nationalism and identity politics, this book addresses scholars and practitioners in fields spanning the arts, social sciences, humanities, and curatorial studies.

Preface by Arjun Appadurai. Afterword by Roger Sansi

Contributors: Arjun Appadurai (New York University), Annette Bhagwati (Museum Rietberg, Zurich), Clémentine Deliss (Berlin), Sarah Demart (Saint-Louis University, Brussels), Natasha Ginwala (Gropius Bau, Berlin), Emmanuel Grimaud (CNRS, Paris), Aliocha Imhoff and Kantuta Quirós (Paris), Erica Lehrer (Concordia University, Montreal), Toma Muteba Luntumbue (Ecole de Recherche Graphique, Brussels), Sharon Macdonald (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Wayne Modest (Research Center for Material Culture, Leiden), Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin), Margareta von Oswald (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Roger Sansi (Barcelona University), Alexander Schellow (Ecole de Recherche Graphique, Brussels), Arnd Schneider (University of Oslo), Anna Seiderer (University Paris 8), Nanette Snoep (Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne), Nora Sternfeld (Kunsthochschule Kassel), Anne-Christine Taylor (Paris), Jonas Tinius (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Ebook available in Open Access.
This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Listen to an interview with editors Margareta von Oswald and Jonas Tinius at New Books Network:

List of images


Introduction: Across Anthropology
Margareta von Oswald and Jonas Tinius

Museums and the Savage Sublime
Arjun Appadurai

Transforming the Ethnographic : Anthropological Articulations in Museum and Heritage Research
Sharon Macdonald

“Museums are Investments in Critical Discomfort”
A conversation with Wayne Modest

Frontiers of the (Non)Humanly (Un)Imaginable : Anthropological Estrangement and the Making of Persona at the Musée du Quai Branly
Emmanuel Grimaud

“On Decolonising Anthropological Museums : Curators Need to Take ‘Indigenous’ Forms of Knowledge More Seriously”
A conversation with Anne-Christine Taylor

Troubling Colonial Epistemologies in Berlin’s Ethnologisches Museum : Provenance Research and the Humboldt Forum
Margareta von Oswald

“Against the Mono-Disciplinarity of Ethnographic Museums”
A conversation with Clementine Deliss

Resisting Extraction Politics : Afro-Belgian Claims, Women’s Activism, and the Royal Museum for Central Africa
Sarah Demart

“Finding Means to Cannibalise the Anthropological Museum”
A conversation with Toma Muteba Luntumbue

Animating Collapse: Reframing Colonial Film Archives
Alexander Schellow and Anna Seiderer

“Translating the Silence”
A conversation with le peuple qui manque

Art-Anthropology Interventions in the Italian Post-Colony : The Scattered Colonial Body Project
Arnd Schneider

“Dissonant Agents and Productive Refusals”
A conversation with Natasha Ginwala

Porous Membranes : Hospitality, Alterity, and Anthropology in a Berlin District Gallery
Jonas Tinius

“What happens in that space in-between and beyond this relation”
A conversation with Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung

Material Kin : “Communities of Implication” in Post-Colonial, Post-Holocaust Polish Ethnographic Collections
Erica Lehrer

“Suggestions for a Post-Museum”
A conversation with Nanette Snoep

Representation of Culture(s) : Articulations of the De/Post-Colonial at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin
Annette Bhagwati

“How Do We Come Together in a World that Isolates Us?”
A conversation with Nora Sternfeld

The Trans-Anthropological, Anachronism, and the Contemporary
Roger Sansi

List of contributors

Visual constellations across the fields

Some lists to inspire the reader

Margareta von Oswald

Margareta von Oswald is an anthropologist and curator. She is a research fellow at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She co-edited 'Across Anthropology. Troubling Colonial Legacies, Museums, and the Curatorial' (2020, Leuven University Press).

Jonas Tinius

Jonas Tinius is a research fellow at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH), Institute of European Ethnology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

An extraordinarily
rich and provocative collection of essays on the transformation of museums and
exhibitions devoted to non-Western arts and cultures. Punctuated by interviews
with path-breaking curators, the volume keeps us focused on contemporary
practice—its real possibilities and constraints. The editors’ guiding concept
of “trans-anthroplogy” avoids both defensive celebration and rigid critique. It
opens our eyes and ears to the relational transactions, alliances, and
difficult dialogues that are animating former anthropology museums today.
James Clifford, Author
of Returns: Becoming Indigenous in the
21st Century

I seldom came across
a similarly well-reflected and convincing volume! It asks future-oriented
questions across a coherent range of contributions and conversations. This
original collection covers relevant exhibition and debates. It is suitable for
MA programmes and PhD programmes in curatorial studies, anthropology,
postcolonial studies, visual culture, material culture studies, and art.
Thomas Fillitz,
University of Vienna

By opening the debate up to a European perspective, with contributions related to the French, Belgium, Dutch and Italian contexts, this anthology offers a well-balanced set of statements, interviews and experiences that allow for different practices to resonate and establish common terrains of concern and enquiry. The editors have proposed a rich selection of points of view that neatly embody one of the key requests for a revision of the colonial past that its narrative be formulated through new forms of pluri-vocality, that "trouble", and thus avoid the smoothing effect of the singular institutional voice.

En ouvrant ce débat a une perspective européenne, à travers des contributions liées aux contextes français, belge, néerlandais et italien, cette anthologie offre un ensemble équilibre de déclarations, d'entretiens et d'expériences, permettant a différentes pratiques d'entrer en résonnance et d'établir des terrains communs d'intérêt et d'enquete. Les directeurs de l' ouvrage ont proposé une riche sélection de points de vue qui incarnent bien l'une des demandes clés dans la révision du passé colonial: que le récit du colonialisme soit exprimé à travers de nouvelles formes chorales qui soient « troublantes », évitant ainsi l'effet de lissage des voix institutionnelles singulières.Felicity Bodenstein, Critique d'art 55,

An assemblage of research articles, reflections, and conversations, Across Anthropology: Troubling Colonial Legacies, Museums, and the Curatorial provides a unique and necessary contribution to recent conversations questioning the meaning, relevance, and legitimacy of anthropology as a discipline [...] Offering ongoing projects of ontological shifts and epistemic critiques, this book demonstrates the potential for decolonizing practices in the museum, while also acknowledging that representational work is not enough. [...] I would recommend this work to scholars, students, and practitioners, especially those dubious of the efficacy of anthropology and museums. In interrogating the validity of anthropology and museums, these contributors have deftly demonstrated the radical potentialities offered by these institutions through epistemological technologies and ethical apparatus, even as their epistemic existence is reconsidered.
Sowparnika Balaswaminathan, Museum Anthropology, November 2021,

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