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"
ANNA WEINREICH, then a graduate student at New York University, New York, New York, received a grant in October 2019 to aid research on ‘Material Frictions and Decolonial Entanglements? An Indigenous Collection between Australia and Berlin,’ supervised by Dr. Fred Myers. Aboriginal Australian objects in European ethnographic collections have long galvanized Aboriginal efforts to gain access to, reconnect with or repatriate material culture acquired under colonial conditions. The Aboriginal collection held at the Ethnographic Museum in Berlin, Germany, materializes the country’s significant historical entanglements with Australia, where German-speakers represented the second largest group of colonial immigrants prior to the outbreak of World War I. While the colonial relationships embodied by these objects have heretofore played a subordinate role in the German national imaginary, their display at the Humboldt Forum’a contested new museum in Berlin’has entangled them in a broad cultural reckoning with Germany’s own colonial histories and debates that have brought ‘decolonization’ onto the agendas of the state. This dissertation ethnographically tracks the collection’s journey across relations between nascent institutional efforts at ‘decolonization’ and the crucial role of these objects and images in the decolonial work of Aboriginal remembrance. Examining the global networks of power relations among persons, objects, and divergent systems of knowledge embodied by Aboriginal collections in Germany, it asks: How are these ‘global assemblages’ renegotiated today, as Aboriginal claims of continued belonging encounter the distinct cultural politics of a decolonizing public sphere in metropolitan Europe?