Ancestral remains, repatriation, and contemporary Indigenous Art

Alexandra Roginski will be giving our next seminar on Wednesday 30th October, when she will be speaking on ‘Somatic histories, stolen remains and contemporary Indigenous art in the settler-colonial state’

Alex writes ‘The histories of European researchers, doctors and collectors exhuming and hoarding Indigenous ancestral remains ripple through public memory as some of the greatest transgressions of western knowledge practices. Since the 1960s, Indigenous activists and groups, and (increasingly) the settler state have sought to remediate the material legacies of these practices by campaigning for the repatriation and respectful reburial of ancestral remains still held in historical collections. The symbolic powers of these narratives of bodily desecration resonate through the respective works of Daniel Boyd and Brook Andrew, who hold dual roles in Australian culture as celebrated Indigenous artists and contributors to public memory. As examples of what I call “somatic histories”, many of their works localise stories of past transgressions – together with the lived experience and aspirations of present-day Indigenous Australians – within human remains. In charting connections between historical violence and contemporary Australian life, they ultimately challenge the settler state’s search for symbolic closure’.

Please join us for what will be a fascinating and provocative talk.

Replica of a nineteenth-century phrenological bust produced by the Fowler phrenological empire. The cranial science of phrenology contributed to a flurry of skull collecting during the long nineteenth century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: Wednesday 30 October, 2019
Time: 5pm – 6pm
Venue: Deakin Downtown, 727 Collins St, Tower 2, Level 12

Free of charge, all welcome.

For further information: contact Steve Cooke (Steven.cooke@deakin.edu.au) 

Venue Tip: Deakin’s city centre campus is a short walk from Southern Cross Station towards Docklands and on part of the free city centre tram network (Stop D15 on routes 11 and 48).  Entry is via Tower Two.  The reception desk directs you to an escalator to a bank

Edgy heritages: the Forcefields of Europe

Chris Whitehead will be discussing ‘Edgy heritage’ in our cultural heritage seminar on Wednesday 28th August.  Chris writes: ‘What does Europe look like from its edges? What kinds of heritage do we find there? Edge places are geopolitical, affective and symbolic zonings in struggles to determine what is what (e.g. ‘Europe’), where it is, who can belong there and where it is heading.

‘It is almost an adage that we best understand the centre by attending to the periphery, or that work on the boundaries of a thing is necessarily a determination of the thing itself. Edgy connotes relationships that may be tense, nervous, and/or bold, provocative or volatile.  Drawing on examples from Gallipoli, Ireland, Berlin and Andalusia, Chis argues that they turn out to be sites of discrepancy and cultural dissonance that test the very nature of ‘Europe’ as a geopolitical reality, as a discursive formation, as marker of identity and as a moral ground. These spaces of cultural confusion, hybrid histories and geopolitical contingencies prompt us to rethink the meanings of Europe at a time when its backstory is both politicised and contested’.

Chris is Professor of Museology at Newcastle University (UK) and Professor II in Cultural Heritage Studies at the University of Oslo (Norway). He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University. He has written on museum history, art interpretation, migration museums, communities and co-production, knowledge construction, museum display and the politics of heritage and memory. His latest book is Dimensions of Heritage and Memory: multiple Europes and the politics of crisis (Routledge 2019), resulting from the large-scale EU-funded CoHERE project that he led from 2015 until 2019. He is co-director of the Newcastle University Centre of Research Excellence in Heritage.

For those of you who want a preview of Chris, he gave an excellent presentation for International Museum Day 2017 on ‘Museums and Contested Stories – saying the unspeakable in museums’.

 

Date: Wednesday 28 August, 2019
Time: 5pm – 6pm
Venue: Deakin Downtown, 727 Collins St, Tower 2, Level 12

Free of charge, all welcome.

For further information: contact Beatrice Harris harrisbe@deakin.edu.au

Venue Tip: Deakin’s city centre campus is a short walk from Southern Cross Station towards Docklands and on part of the free city centre tram network (Stop D15 on routes 11 and 48).  Entry is via Tower Two.  The reception desk directs via an escalator to a bank of lifts and Deakin Downtown is on Level 12.