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CuratopiaMuseums and the future of curatorship$
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Philipp Schorch and Conal McCarthy

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526118196

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526118196.001.0001

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Curating across the colonial divides

Curating across the colonial divides

(p.72) 5 Curating across the colonial divides

Jette Sandahl

Manchester University Press

Rooted in specific cases and in the author’s background of working across the colonial divides of museums in Europe and in Aotearoa New Zealand, this chapter explores the continued colonial and supremacist default position of ethnographic museum collections in Europe. Whereas in, for instance, Aotearoa New Zealand and the United States, a focused pressure by indigenous and other un- and underrepresented communities have ensured legislative frameworks that recognize the expertise, authority and rights to self-representation of the people with an original cultural connection to the given objects, museums holding global collections in Europe are still working in an ethical void which permits a continued denial and disavowal of the implication of colonialism. Whiteness is, in James Baldwin’s term, a moral choice – and a choice still practiced by museums, when they prefer token projects of diversity and the de-legitimization and marginalization of alternative epistemologies and museological principles to a systematic process of self-reflection and de-colonization, which actively embraces present accountability for historic wrongs, and thereby enables the museum to address urgent, current global issues and conflicts.

Keywords:   Ethnographic museums, Colonialism, Race, Europe, Indigeneity

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