Decolonizing the Archive or how to deal with complicated past

Dr. Richard Kuba (Frobenius Institut, Frankfurt a.M.): öffentlicher Vortrag im Rahmen des Forschungskolloquiums Ethnologie

Datum: 30. November 2021
Zeit: 16.15 Uhr bis 17.45 Uhr
Ort: Universität Luzern, Raum 3.B48

Dr. Richard Kuba (Frobenius Institut, Frankfurt am Main)

Decolonizing the Archive, or how to deal with a complicated past

What is the significance of the ethnographic archive today? How can its potential be raised for indigenous communities, museums and the public? These are the questions addressed by the project: "The German Ethnographic Expeditions to the Australian Kimberley. Research Historical Significance, Digital Repatriation and Shared Interpretation of Indigenous Cultural Heritage" at the Frobenius Institute in Frankfurt, Germany.

It involves numerous largely unpublished field notes as well as thousands of photographs, and drawings from the 1930s and 1950s - one of the earliest ethnological documentations of the Wanjina Wunggurr community in the Kimberley. The previously inaccessible material is now partly translated, made digitally accessible in a culturally sensitive way, researched together with community members and reassessed.

The talk gives an outlook on the potentials as well as possible conflict that open up for indigenous communities through accessing "colonial" archival material and shows what responsibilities and opportunities arise for preservation, presentation and restitution.