On the ‘heritage’ of objects: between racism and restitution

Twitchin, Mischa. 2020. 'On the ‘heritage’ of objects: between racism and restitution'. In: RAI Conference 2020: Anthropology and Geography - Dialogues Past, Present and Future. London, United Kingdom 15 – 17 September 2020. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

The sense that objects of African provenance displayed in European museums speak of and to an Afropean future, one that has always been present in the past, remains largely unacknowledged. That people of African heritage (within the societies whose colonial histories these museums typically represent) are themselves no less European than others, for example, are American demonstrates the complexities of “identity” that certain currents of contemporary politics still wish to deny. Museums are a privileged site for unsettling the very “colonial certainties” that they, nonetheless, embody institutionally and, in this presentation, I wish to explore the changing meanings of the famous Benin “bronzes”. Such meanings are produced not only by museums in both Europe and Africa, but by the stories told by their visitors, whether as members of so-called “ethnic” minorities or majorities, or as global tourists; especially as these concern narratives of citizenship in relation to objects that are part of the very histories that they symbolise.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


15 September 2020Completed

Event Location:

London, United Kingdom

Date range:

15 – 17 September 2020

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

21 Sep 2020 09:34

Last Modified:

21 Sep 2020 09:34



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