1st Edition

Decolonizing Colonial Heritage New Agendas, Actors and Practices in and beyond Europe

    344 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    344 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Decolonizing Colonial Heritage explores how different agents practice the decolonization of European colonial heritage at European and extra-European locations. Assessing the impact of these practices, the book also explores what a new vision of Europe in the postcolonial present could look like.

    Including contributions from academics, artists and heritage practitioners, the volume explores decolonial heritage practices in politics, contemporary history, diplomacy, museum practice, the visual arts and self-generated memorial expressions in public spaces. The comparative focus of the chapters includes examples of internal colonization in Europe and extends to former European colonies, among them Shanghai, Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro. Examining practices in a range of different contexts, the book pays particular attention to sub-national actors whose work is opening up new futures through their engagement with decolonial heritage practices in the present. The volume also considers the challenges posed by applying decolonial thinking to existing understandings of colonial heritage.

    Decolonizing Colonial Heritage examines the role of colonial heritage in European memory politics and heritage diplomacy. It will be of interest to academics and students working in the fields of heritage and memory studies, colonial and imperial history, European studies, sociology, cultural studies, development studies, museum studies, and contemporary art.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylor francis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.


    Lists of figures

    List of contributors



    Introduction: by Britta Timm Knudsen, John Oldfield, Elizabeth Buettner and Elvan Zabunyan

    Part I: Haunted Worlds: Ghosts of the Colonial Past

    Chapter 1: Europe and Its Entangled Colonial Pasts: Europeanizing the ‘Imperial Turn’ by Elizabeth Buettner

    Chapter 2: 1917, Brexit and Imperial Nostalgia: A Longing for the Future

    by Christoffer Kølvraa


    Chapter 3: Spectres of Cecil Rhodes at the University of Cape Town

    by Nick Shepherd

    Chapter 4: Decolonizing the Narrative of Portuguese Empire: Life Stories of African Presence, Heritage and Memory

    by Cristiano Gianolla, Giuseppina Raggi and Lorena Sancho Querol


    Chapter 5: Decolonizing Warsaw: The Multiple Afterlives of ‘Ali’

    by Łukasz Bukowiecki


    Part II: Contemporary Heritage Practices: New Agents, Urban Space Events, Intercultural Encounters

    1. Museums and curatorship
    2. Chapter 6: Curating Colonial Heritage in Amsterdam, Warsaw and Shanghai’s Museums: No Single Road to Decolonization

      by Csilla E. Ariese, Laura Pozzi and Joanna Wawrzyniak


      Chapter 7: The Influence of Western Colonial Culture on Shanghai: A Case Study of the ‘Modern Shanghai’ Exhibition at the Shanghai History Museum

      by Lu Jiansong




      Chapter 8: Decolonizing Contemporary Art Exhibitions: Okwui Enwezor (1963–2019), The Turning Point of Curatorship

      by Elvan Zabunyan


    3. Echoes of colonial heritage, visual culture and site-specific art


    Chapter 9: Sensitive Memories at a World Heritage Site: Silencing and Resistance at the Valongo Wharf

    by Márcia Chuva, Laila Bianchi Aguiar and Brenda Coelho Fonseca

    Chapter 10: Traces of Contempt and Traces of Self-Esteem: Deconstructing our Toxic Colonial Legacy

    by Dalila Mahdjoub

    Chapter 11: Reframing the Colonial in Postcolonial Lisbon: Placemaking and the Aestheticization of Interculturality

    by Paulo Peixoto and Claudino Ferreira

    Chapter 12: Aesthetics and Colonial Heritage: An Interview with Artists Based in Marseille

    by Badr El Hammami, Mohammed Laouli and Marine Schütz

    Chapter 13: Enslaved Bodies, Entangled Sites and the Memory of Slavery in Cape Town: The Meeting of the Dead and the Living

    by Meghna Singh

    Part III: Imagining Decolonial Futures

    Chapter 14: Decolonial Countervisuality

    by Britta Timm Knudsen with Sorana Munsya, Benjamine Laini Lusalusa and Stephanie Collingwoode Williams

    Chapter 15: New Diplomacy and Decolonial Heritage Practices

    by Cristina E. Clopot, Casper Andersen and John Oldfield

    Chapter 16: Decolonial Voices, Colonialism and the Limits of European Liberalism: The European Question Revisited

    by Jan Ifversen



    Britta Timm Knudsen is Professor of Culture, Media and Experience Economy, School of Communication and Culture, University of Aarhus, Denmark.

    John Oldfield is Professor of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull, UK.

    Elizabeth Buettner is Professor of Modern History at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

    Elvan Zabunyan is Professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of Rennes, France, and an art critic.