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Repatriation of Museum Objects

Monday, October 19, 2020 at 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Virtual Event

This panel is organized to bring together museum directors, curators, architects, and scholars to comment on the recent discussions on repatriation and restitution as a form of reparation to colonized and looted lands.

While museums in Europe and North America have occasionally returned objects to their native communities or lands of arrival, the issue of repatriation gained an accelerated epistemological and ethical momentum at the end of 2018. What is the responsibility of museums to objects taken into their collections by violence or deceit during the colonial times or wars? What is the role of museum-object-repatriation in the recognition of colonial and military violence? What are the procedural and ethical differences between repatriation, restitution, and other possible forms of reparations? What are the legal structures that prohibit or allow deaccession in the museums of different countries? Once the objects are parted from their communities and no longer serve their original sacred functions, where are they returned back to? What determines how far back museums consider repatriation claims legitimate and why? What is the future of “universal museums” around the world?

Speakers will each make a 15-minute presentation, commenting on the contemporary debates from the perspectives of their own work and study area. A question and answer session will follow the presentations.

Souleymane Bachir Diagne | Columbia University | New York
Jonathan Fine | Humboldt Forum | Berlin
Cecile Fromont | Yale University | New Haven

Esra Akcan | Cornell University | Ithaca

Dial-In Information

Register to attend the Zoom webinar

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