Christopher Green

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Pennsylvania, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9998

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Green, Christopher (Pennsylvania, U. of) "Re-collecting Kanak Pasts: Indigenous Identities and Sovereignty in New Caledonia"

My project is a multi-sited ethnographic study of three Indigenous representing museums of New Caledonia (a region identified as a French “special collectivity”) and the surrounding communities. I propose to examine and utilize Indigenous recognitions and appropriations of the Western museum-form to understand what kinds of authority to determine identities are inherent to this museum-form. This research project reorients the more traditional anthropological project of studying the Kanaks to a project studying with the Kanaks, as a means to understand the ideological durability of the Western museum-form in our contemporary “post-colonial” world. In so doing, this project seeks to investigate how and why certain colonial forms, especially the museum, have become both unfailingly durable and consistently reiterated in the era of decolonization. My hypothesis is that museums, for Western and/or Indigenous communities, provide an institutional form by which identities can be reconstituted by grounding these identities in some form of past-ness. These re-collections of identity are always political, embodying the utopic political aspirations of the person or people controlling them, which makes the control for representation of Indigeneity in New Caledonian museums particularly crucial as Indigenous Kanaks push for independence from France.