Seminar "Colonialism's Heritage"
"Colonialism's Heritage of Museums and Archives" Highlights of the Seminar
The seminar "Colonialism's Heritage in Museums and Archives" (winter term 2016/17) was the first of Prof. Plummer's courses concerned with museum topics. Following seminars, such as "Indigenising the Museum" (summer term 2017) are concerned with similar issues.
As one student put it, “the museum is no longer simply the location of the exhibition, but it is part of the exhibition”. The ethnological museum in Cologne openly approaches its problematic history.
The film Great Expectations portrays the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, one of the oldest museums in the United Kingdom, by exploring the collections and archives of the museum, while simultaneously including passages from an interview with curator David Wright.
Needles and dolls – voodoo is often wrongly associated with superstition and dubious ceremonies. The museum sheds light on these prejudices and presents a variety of artefacts from West African countries and the Caribbean.
Skeletons, ancestors, body tissue? Indigenous and non-indigenous ideas of indigenous human remains kept in Western institutions differ fundamentally. Should they be studied or “repatriated”? And what is gained by the digitalisation of museum collections?
In what ways is a seminar on colonial artefacts in museums relevant? Which topics were regarded as the most controversial? How can issues or methods dealt with during the seminar be useful for students’ research or professional careers?