1st Edition

Collections as Relations Contestations of Belonging, Cultural Heritage, and Knowledge Infrastructures

    256 Pages 59 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores anthropological and global art collections as a catalyst, a medium, and an expression of relations. Relations – between and among objects and media, people, and wider material and immaterial contexts – define, configure, and potentially transform collection-related social and professional networks, discourses and practices, and increasingly museums and other collecting institutions themselves. Objects and media are created, manufactured, and used; they are sold, bartered, and stolen or taken with force; and they are categorized and displayed in museums, archives, and libraries far beyond their contexts of origin. The contributors argue that a focus on the – often contested – making and remaking of relations provides an innovative conceptual entry-point for understanding collections’ – and ‘their’ objects’ and media’s – complex histories, contemporary webs of interactions, and potential futures. The chapters examine the local, translocal, and transregional relations of collections with regards to their affective, aesthetic, performative, and socio-moral qualities and situate them in the larger geopolitical constellations of precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial settings. Together they investigate ongoing shifts in the relations of collections and collecting institutions by identifying alternative approaches to conceive of, and deal with, anthropological and global art collections, objects, and media in the future. The book is of interest to scholars from anthropology, global art history, museum studies, and heritage studies.

    Introduction: Collections as Relations – Contestations of Belonging, Cultural Heritage, and Knowledge Infrastructures Hansjörg Dilger, Barbara Göbel, Lars-Christian Koch, Stephanie Schütze, Alexis von Poser PART I: Politics of Identity and Belonging 1. Shared Soundscapes: Everyday Archiving and the Collaborative (Re)activation of Anthropological Collections Ingrid Kummels; Gisela Cánepa Koch 2. Curating and Creating Relations between Lived Worlds: A Practice-oriented Methodology for Museum Engagements with Indigenous Communities from Amazonia Thiago da Costa Oliveira & Andrea Scholz   3. Making Kin, Reanimating Relations in the Museum Collection Magdalena Buchczyk   PART II: Constructions of Cultural Heritage and Property Disputes 4. Cultural Heritage from Colonial Context as Disputed Heritage. The Case of Cameroon and Germany Richard Tsogang Fossi 5. The Ayoréode Collection at the BASA Museum as a Glocal Place. On Movements and Displacements Naomi Rattunde, Karoline Noack and Carla Jaimes Betancourt   6. Towards Democratising the Formation of Knowledge. Researching Sensitive Collections from Namibia Collectively Julia T. S. Binter PART III: Epistemic Cultures and Knowledge Infrastructures 7. The Afterlives of Gold Antiquities from Southeast Asia: Digging and Collecting for the Art Market in Indonesia Mai Lin Tjoa-Bonatz 8. Challenging the Jacobsen Collections from the American Northwest Coast and Alaska. A Long Durée of Multilateral Engagement and Complex Relationships 1881-2021 Viola König 9. Vegetal Entanglements: Flowers and Medical Herbs as Wissensfiguren in Chinese Art and Visual Culture Juliane Noth 10. From Index Cards to Digital Catalogues: Incomplete Object Documentation as Reflection Space Quoc-Tan Tran

    Biography

    Hansjörg Dilger is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology in the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

    Barbara Göbel is Director of the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz) and an Honorary Professor in the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

    Lars-Christian Koch is Director of the Ethnologisches Museum and Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz) and Director of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin's collections at the Humboldt Forum. He is also Professor of Musicology at Universität zu Köln and Honorary Professor at Universität der Künste Berlin and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany.

    Stephanie Schütze is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology in the Institute for Latin American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

    Alexis von Poser is Deputy Director of the Ethnologisches Museum and Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz) and an Honorary Professor in the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

    “Now that colonial objects can no longer be seen as mute, but speak to us in multiple voices, it is acute to attend to the roles they play and relations they establish. Collections as Relations is a rich and novel approach to think the complex politics of collections.”

    - Amade M'charek, University of Amsterdam

    “Tailored for scholars and professionals in anthropology, history, art, and cultural heritage, the book explores nuanced facets of cultural identity, colonial legacies, and museum ethics, fostering interdisciplinary dialogue across multifaceted subjects in cultural studies and heritage preservation.”

    - Maryam Mansab, Department of Museum and Antiquities, Zanzibar

     “Collections as Relations is itself a fascinating collection that shows just how productive collections can be for exploring relations of multiple kinds. These include those that reveal forgotten, suppressed and ambiguous histories, as well as those that open up possibilities for activating new relations.”

    - Sharon Macdonald, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin