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Anthropology and Contemporary Visual Arts from the Black Atlantic: between the Art Museum and the Ethnological Museum in the Global North

Wednesday, 6 pm, Room B 108


23.10.2019, Arnd Schneider (Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo):
The Decolonial Moment: Museums, Materiality, Film

This presentation discusses how the current decolonial moment (epitomized by the debate on the restitution of museum objects) has a longer trajectory and can be made productive to inform critical film and exhibition projects. The examples employed to develop the argument are the Alain Resnais and Chris Marker’s film, ‘Les statues meurent aussi’ (France, 1953), Duncan Campbell’s response to the Resnais/Marker film, ‘It for Others’ (Britain, 2013), and a recent exhibition project by Leone Contini and Arnd Schneider, ‘Bel Suol d’Amore – The Scattered Colonial Body’ (National Ethnographic Museum L. Pigorini /Museum of Civilizations, Rome, 2017).

06.11.2019, Marcel Dorigny (Département d’histoire, Université de Paris 8, Honoraire):
Les arts et les lettres contre l’esclavage: Le combat aux côtés des abolitionnistes

Les artistes ont joué un rôle non négligeable dans le combat abolitionniste. Aux côtés des écrivains, ils ont dénoncé les pratiques esclavagistes avec une efficacité peut-être démultipliée, les images ayant eu un impact populaire plus percutant que les seuls textes, à des époques où la lecture était loin d’être acquise à tous. Cette conférence leur rend hommage. Gravures, poèmes, sculptures, romans, caricatures et architectures, toutes les œuvres citées s’éclairent mutuellement dans un dialogue inédit. Ce regard s’étend à la « mémoire militante » : cent soixante-dix ans après l’abolition, cette cause reste d’actualité auprès d’écrivains tels Patrick Chamoiseau, Évelyne Trouillot ou Laurent Gaudé, et d’artistes comme Daniel Buren, Kara Walker ou Rashid Johnson qui s’impliquent en faisant écho à ces luttes.
Hier comme aujourd’hui, les arts et les lettres n’ont cessé de contribuer à la diffusion vers un large public des combats pour la défense d’un thème cher aux Lumières : l’unité de l’espèce humaine. 

10.12.2019, Romuald Tchibozo (Département d’histoire et d’archéologie, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou, Bénin):
Contemporary artistic practices and memory of slavery in Benin: towards a bridge between the Black Atlantic?

Achtung: Dieser Vortrag findet an einem Dienstag statt!

18.12.2019, Violence and the Caste War of Yucatán 
Presentation of the new book of Wolfgang Gabbert (Cambridge, 2019) with the author and Volker Wünderich (both Leibniz University Hanover)

15.01.2020, Florence Alexis (Curator for printed collections, archives and library sciences, Paris):
From [the] Africa[s] to the Americas, serving a Creativity ‘en Maronnage’: To flee the plantation, organise survival, develop skills in a new space of freedom 

22.01.2020, Maureen Murphy (Département UFR 03: Histoire de l’art et Archéologie, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne):
Moving Boundaries: Modern Senegalese Art seen by Contemporary artists

In art historical narratives, modern African art seems to float in an undefined space at the crossroad of “the ancient” and “the contemporary”. This uncertain status is best revealed by the fact that very few museums have displayed the arts developed at the times of Independence. This conference will focus on Senegalese modern art and will question how contemporary artists gave it visibility since the 1970s in Senegal, as well as in Europe.

28.01.2020, Barbara Plankensteiner und Johanna Wild (Museum am Rothenbaum Kulturen und Künste der Welt, Hamburg):
Art in Ethnographic Museums: Contemporary Perspectives and an Old Debate

Achtung: Dieser Vortrag findet an einem Dienstag statt!



Now that the museums of the Global North are opening their doors to the contemporary arts of the Black Atlantic, should the so-called "traditional arts" remain in the Ethnological Museum? Are there reliable criteria for the respective classifications and to what extent is anthropology still to be held responsible for this dichotomous view? And how to account for continuity – i.e. a historical narrative – or threads of continuity in the face of the prevalent modernist "paradigm of rupture"? And how can one explain continuity – i.e. a historical narrative – or continuity threads in the face of the prevailing modernist "paradigm of rupture"? Isn't the divide between art-historical and anthropological research artificial in the broader sense and, moreover, simply outdated?
Inspired by a number of ongoing international summer schools on the subject, our upcoming research colloquium will critically evaluate the contradictory interrelations between art historical discourse and methodology on the one hand, and anthropological approaches to the peculiarities of the visual arts and practices of the Black Atlantic on both sides of the ocean on the other. Going beyond the scope of Paul Gilroy’s concept, our understanding of the Black Atlantic includes Africa, large parts of South and Central America, the Caribbean, and Europe. Our research lines should include theoretical and methodological questions on how to talk about contemporary Black Atlantic visual arts and how this relates to a discursive framework still structured by Western timelines, from modernity (and modernisms) to postmodernism to contemporary globalization.
We therefore cordially invite you to contribute to our discussion on a conceptual framework that encompasses the arts of Africa and its diasporas in their embedding in a transatlantic history, recognizing both their common agenda and aesthetic plurality. This also includes an examination of preconceived knowledge systems, which are taken for granted in Europe and the US, by questioning established museographic conventions and exploring future possibilities for cooperation between art history and anthropology.