University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

Questions of Belonging

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMatters of Belonging
Subtitle of host publicationEthnographic Museums in a Changing Europe
EditorsWayne Modest, Nicholas Thomas, Doris Prlic, Claudia Augustat
Place of PublicationLeiden
PublisherSidestone Press
ISBN (Print)978-90-8890-777-7
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019
EventSWICH conference: Museums, Citizenship and Belonging in a Changing Europe - Volkenkunde Museum and Centre for Research in Material Culture, Leiden, Netherlands
Duration: 24 Nov 201625 Nov 2016


ConferenceSWICH conference


Questions of belonging lie just below the surface of any ethnographic collection. Do these things made elsewhere and in other contexts belong here in this particular gilded cage, whichever of the European museum of world cultures? To whom do these things belong – to descendants of the originating culture or descendants of the current host culture? If descendants of the cultures who originally made these things now belong here in Europe, here through histories of contact, exchange and movement forged through centuries of Empire, can we say that their things, their material culture, also belong here, even when other descendants want them back? How can the question of repatriation be inappropriate and violent in the case of humans, but caring and responsible in the case of things? Given that things, including those that are also ancestors, in ethnographic museums were sometimes collected violently, and always in the context of violence, do they belong here or should they be with those who have retained special names, particular knowledge and exquisite feelings about them beyond the merely aesthetic? Who and what belong where is a question as subtext playing in the background of any ethnographic museum.


  • What We Forget

    Activity: OtherTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation

Research outputs

ID: 15802644