University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Whose Stuff is it, Anyway? Decolonization and the Role of Museums in Contemporary Society

Wednesday 05 June 2019
6:00PM - 7:00PM
Penn Museum

Museum Front

Tukufu Zuberi, Lead Curator, upcoming Africa Galleries

Looking at African artistry and craftsmanship, and the impact of the European colonial mentality in the collection of African Art and crafts, Dr. Zuberi will consider the current redesign of the Africa galleries at the Penn Museum, one of the oldest ethnographic museum in the US. The foundational works that constitute the Penn Museum Africa Galleries were collected prior to the end of World War II. They were collected at a time in which the world was divided into the colonizer and the colonized. Most of the contributions were collected by ethnologist of the time who tended to be gentlemen travelers and professional men and their wives or antiquarians and amateur historians. These decolonization efforts and the struggle for liberation which culminated in independence in north, south, west, and east Africa. During these formative years the Penn Museum Africa Galleries were curated in ignorance, or denial, of the social movements of Pan-Africanism (in the Anglophone colonies), Negritude (in the Francophone colonies), and Pan-Arabism (in the Maghreb and North Africa colonies) transforming the world, specifically, Africa’s relationship to the World. Re-considering this institutional legacy of colonialism, and thus challenge the idea that the works in the Penn Africa Galleries magically give us access to African history and culture untainted by the imperial desires from parts of Europe and the United States of America.

Admission: $10 per lecture; Members, $5.
Space is limited; advance online reservations strongly suggested

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