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Dialogue forum with Ciraj Rassool “The Politics of Heritage in Africa”, Thursday, 3 December 2015, 7 pm, Galerie Wedding.


InfoEintritt frei, Spenden willkommen! U6, U9 Leopoldplatz


New dynamics are marking the debate about the Humboldt Forum. Civil society initiatives have been calling for a rethink for a long time. Now, representatives of institutions have finally conceded the need to view ethnological objects as a material heritage of German colonial history. However, little attention is being paid to museums and universities in Africa that are researching the way colonial heritage is dealt with at the same time. The historian and museologist, Prof. Ciraj Rassool, is playing a crucial role in rephrasing the work of museums in South Africa’s post-apartheid society. As the Director of the African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies at the University of Western Cape, he has already done groundbreaking work on creating spheres for exchange in a pan African context. 

As part of the dialogue forum, Ciraj Rassool discusses how historical heritage can become a venue for critical practices. He refers to contemporary debates about heritage and remembrance in Africa in which historical heritage is examined as a system of celebrating, regulating and formalising nationality. Policies of remembrance are viewed in terms of a foundation for building new nations and also as a sector in which inequalities in relation to the global north are consolidated.  

Ciraj Rassool is Professor of History and Director of the African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies at the University of Western Cape. He is also the associate editor of the pioneering publication “The Politics of Heritage in Africa” (2015). He has published several books and articles about museums, cultural heritage and the politics of remembrance in southern Africa. He is also the chairperson of the board of the District Six Museums and the Iziko museums in Cape Town. His publication, “Skeletons in the Cupboard”, South African Museum and the Trade of Human Remains”, led to the repatriation of Trooi und Klaas Pienaar from Vienna to Kuruman, South Africa. At present, he is a Research Fellow at the Morphata Institute at the University of Cologne. 

The event will be held in English. 

This series of events links up with the “Decolonial Objections to the Humboldt Forum” project in 2013/14 and further develops issues raised therein. As part of the campaign “No Humboldt 21!”, AfricAvenir supports critical intervention from Africa and the African diaspora in the debate about the Berliner Schloss/Humboldt Forum.

The event will be held in co-operation with Galerie Wedding – Raum für zeitgenössische Kunst (space for contemporary art).

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