Reinvestigating Colonial Collecting, Looting, and Repatriation Stream at ASAUK24
Posted on 28th September, 2023 in Conferences
Reinvestigating Colonial Collecting, Looting, and Repatriation in Africa: Towards Regenerative Approaches to Restitution
Stream organiser: Tomos Llywelyn Evans, email@example.com (Department of Anthropology, College of William & Mary).
Stream Description: Colonial military plundering, missionary iconoclasm, archaeological excavations, purchase by collectors, and theft by explorers and travellers: these were some of the destructive practices rife in the colonial era which led to the scattering of thousands of African cultural objects across Western museums and private collections. In response, calls for restitution and repatriation by African rulers, community leaders, and a small number of foreign officials and scholars sought to stem the tide of expropriation in this period. While some of these efforts proved successful, as the late Professor Folarin Olawale Shyllon has stated in 2014: “…having regard to the scale of colonial plunder in sub-Saharan Africa, what has been returned is just the tip of the iceberg.” Broad in its scope, this thematic stream calls for panel and paper contributions that reinvestigate these stories of colonial collecting, looting, and excavation, the long history of repatriation and restitution efforts that sought to help regenerate societies that were harmed by such plundering, and the ways in which study of these histories can be used to inform approaches to museums and cultural restitution in the present.
The stream is particularly interested in contributions that bring to light previously unpublished archival material pertaining to these topics, or which explore published examples in innovative new ways. Panels and papers that centre local ontologies, epistemologies, and agency in exploring these histories, and/or that critically re-examine them from the perspectives of critical museum studies, post-colonial theory, and decolonising approaches to museology and archaeology are especially pertinent. Case studies from across the continent, and across both the colonial and immediate post-colonial periods are encouraged, to develop comparative perspectives of these processes with a temporal and geographical breadth.
Panel and paper abstracts pertaining to any or multiple of these themes that do not exceed 300 words may be emailed to the stream organiser in advance of 31 January 2024.
Tomos Llywelyn Evans, firstname.lastname@example.org