Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationNew York U.
Grant numberGr. 9935
Approve DateOctober 25, 2019
Project TitleWeinreich, Anna (New York U.) "Material Frictions and Decolonial Entanglements? An Indigenous Collection between Australia and Berlin"
My dissertation examines emergent encounters between the contested politics of “Indigenizing” ethnographic collections from Australia and the “decolonizing” of German museums. In few cultural contexts are the ownership and value of Indigenous collections as contested as in Australia, a situation that has given rise to innovative Indigenized frameworks for collections governance, display, and repatriation. While there is a longstanding political investment in collections in Germany, Indigenous engagement with these collections has heretofore been limited by spatial, political, and linguistic distance. European ethnographic museums, however, are currently undergoing highly politicized transformations that mobilize a new cultural politics of “decolonization.” At a time when digital technologies are increasingly reconfiguring the circulation of collections, these transformations generate new dialogues with Aboriginal scholars. Tracing a significant yet overlooked history of exchanges between Indigenous Australia and German anthropology, I examine how these cross-cultural and colonial entanglements are renegotiated in a decolonizing field of cultural production. How are new encounters between Indigenous Australians and German museums reframing the discourses and emergent practices of “decolonization” in Europe? To what frictions and engagements do these encounters give rise, and how are they unsettling the regimes of value that are animated by the global circulation of Indigenous material culture?