LSGI - June 1st - Sabine Luning (Anthropology, Leiden)
The LSGI takes place on the first Friday of each month from 13:30 to 15:00 at theGravensteen, Pieterskerkhof 6, Room 11 (map). There is no need to register in advance. A working paper will be posted on the website one week prior to the seminar.
- On Friday, June 1st: Sabine Luning
- On Friday, May 4th: Hester Dibbits
- On Friday, April 13th: Renzo S. Duin
- On Friday, March 2nd: Paul Basu
- On Friday, February 10th: Arjen Oosterman, Vincent Schipper, Christian Fruneaux and Edwin Gardiner
- On Friday, December 2nd: Dr. Alexander Geurds
- On Monday, October 10th: Marieke Bloembergen & Martijn Eickhoff
- On Wednesday, September 14th: Wayne Modest
Dr. Sabine Luning (FSW, Leiden University) will present:
Global Gold Connections: Ethical Consumption and the Beauty of Bonding Artisans
This paper focuses on ethical jewelry initiatives such as Oro Verde and the “No dirty Gold Campaign” by Oxfam Novib. These initiatives promise to create supply chains which allow consumers to do good with their purchased gold, not just to the recipient of the gift but also to the producers.Gold has a longstanding reputation as symbol of the social good: it epitomizes social values of trust, love and loyalty. Wedding rings and gold jewelry seem to be made to do good. The current quest for ethical consumption makes a perfect match with the morals attached to gold. The crucial test: can the circumstances of production and fabrication be made as good as gold?
Ethical consumption depends on interesting representations of the source of gold and different professional positions along the global value chain. The paper addresses two features of the representations of fair-mined (commodity) chain of gold: the designers involved in fair-mined initiatives are portrayed as celebrities, the producers as poor miners operating at small scale. The first image banks on the association of the chique and the beautiful, the second on the credo that small is beautiful. The paper analyses the conjunction of the images of the celebrity artisan and the small-scale artisan. This allows to highlight the specific characteristics of 'good gold' as form of 'eco-chic' ethical consumption. Celebrity culture foregrounds elitism of consumers, production on small scale is framed as a form of mining that can be improved to live up to standards of social and ecological sustainability. Together, ‘we are on the road to good gold’ (‘op weg naar goed goud’, Solidaridad campaign in The Netherlands).
Discussant: Lindsay Weiss (Stanford Archaeology Center and Dept of Anthroplogy, Stanford University)
This seminar is part of the series: Inscribing Practices: Material Worlds of Heritage and Migration.
Hester Dibbits (Reinwardt Academy) will present:
Drinking Moroccan tea in the traditional salon: the musealization of every day practices
The period room is since long considered as a somewhat old fashioned but still attractive museological phenomenon. As a matter of fact, since the last two decades, museums have built on this tradition exhibiting domestic interiors of migrant families. Comparing different exhibitions, one may perceive them as very ‘stereotypical’.
This paper argues that the 'stereotypicalness' can be better understood when looking at the actual interiors of migrant families themselves. Although it is often claimed that the ways in which people furnish their room is highly individual, the contrary appears to be true as well. There are several explanations for this, such as the availability of specific furniture at the time of arrival but also the shared biographies of people and the shared preferences for certain specific interiorstyles related to these shared biographies. Moreover, it is possible to detect certain patterns in which people appropriate their dwellings. As it appears, processes of canonisation and musealization are not confined to the museum, but they also take place in the everyday domestic context. We could even say that these processes begin in the domestic setting. Furnishing their houses people are valueing, selecting, displaying, fostering or deaccessioning the things they found themselves surrounded with.
Being aware of these dynamics, it is interesting to take this parallel a bit further and look at other everyday indoor practices, such as having dinner or drinking tea together. To what extend are these practices also 'canonized' into shared, more or less fixed, 'inscribed' performances? Exploring this topic in my paper, I will also pose the question how everyday practices are dealt with in the context of the museum, now that more and more museums, opting for 'experiences', try to work with the concept of intangible heritage.
Discussant: Ilona Heijnen (Archaeology, Leiden)
Hester Dibbits, ‘Furnishing the salon: symbolic ethnicity and performative practices in Moroccan-Dutch domestic interiors’, in International Journal of Consumer Studies 33 (2009), 550-5570
download pdf here
Hester Dibbits is professor (lector) of cultural heritage and course director of the Master's Degree Programme in Museology at the Reinwardt Academy (Amsterdam School of the Arts). After finishing a study in History at the University of Amsterdam, Dibbits got a position as post graduate student at the department of Ethnology at the Meertens Institute (Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences) in Amsterdam. In 1998 she obtained her PhD from the Free University in Amsterdam with a study on material culture in the early modern period. From that time onwards she combined historical research with ethnographic fieldwork. In 2002 Dibbits received a grant from the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research for her research project Migration and Material Culture: The Domestic Interiors of Migrants and their Descendants . This project aimed at the exploration of the complex relationships between material practices and feelings of belonging. The research results were used as a source of inspiration for the installation Van Huis Uit, curated by Michael McMillan (first to be shown in 2007 at Imagine IC in Amsterdam). In 2009 Dibbits was appointed head of the department of Dutch Ethnology at the Meertens Institute. In 2010-2011 she worked as head of curators at the Netherlands Open Air Museum in Arnhem. Among Dibbits’ publications in English are ‘Moroccan Dutch Boys and the Authentication of Clothing Styles’ in: P.J. Margry and H. Roodenburg eds., Reframing Dutch Culture (Ashgate: Aldershot 2007, 11-35), ‘Furnishing the salon: symbolic ethnicity and performative practices in Moroccan-Dutch domestic interiors’, in International Journal of Consumer Studies 33 (2009), 550-5570 and ‘Pronken as Practice. Material Culture in The Netherlands, 1650-1800’. in: Rengenier C. Rittersma [ed.], Miscallaneous Reflections on Netherlandish Material Culture, 1500 to the Present (Brussels, Pharo Publishing: 2010, 135-158).
Renzo S. Duin (Archaeology) will present:
Mapped boundaries and fluid frontiers: implications for indigenous heritage management
Recent anthropological and archaeological research has demonstrated that Amazonia appears more heterogeneous, dynamic, and socio-politically complex than assumed thus far. Regarding the frontier zone of Suriname, French Guiana and Brazil, however, the discourse of a "pristine forest" in which "stone age Indians" roamed, has been prevailing over local historicities. Political boundaries between Suriname, French Guiana and Brazil were defined by drawing rivers on maps. These mapped boundaries have direct implications for local communities to whom these rivers facilitate interaction. Western narrative and practice of map-making diverges from indigenous memories and inscribing practices (ritual performance, architecture, landscape management). These divergent metanarratives lead to contrasting perceptions of the historical ecology of the recently created national parks in respectively the north of Brazil (Parque Nacional das Montanhas de Tumucumaque) and in the south of French Guyana (Parc Amazonien de Guyane). This presentation is intended to explore possibilities for further dialogue and understanding of the material and immaterial heritage of indigenous people situated in the globalizing arena.
Discussant: Dorrit van Dalen (LIAS)
Duin, Renzo (2011) Plus d’un Langue, in Communities in Contact : Essays in archaeology, ethnohistory & ethnography of the Amerindian circum-Caribbean, eds C. Hoffman and A. v. Duijvenbode, Leiden: Sidestone Press. pp. 439-453.
Download pdf here.
Paul Basu (Anthropology, University College London) will present:
The ‘In-betweenness’ of Things: Materialising Movement and Cultural Interaction in the Sierra Leonean Object Diaspora
Drawing on theories emerging from the study of human diasporas, I consider the implications for rethinking the diasporas of objects that fill the stores and galleries of the global museumscape. Using objects from the Sierra Leonean ‘object diaspora’ as examples, I examine how material culture can challenge dominant ideas about the static isomorphism between people, culture and place, and instead manifest a kind of ‘double-consciousness’ in a space ‘in-between’ peoples, cultures and places. The paper is conceived as a ‘spoken-word exhibition’ in which I discuss an assemblage of Sierra Leonean objects which ‘speak’ to the themes of inter-cultural interaction, the colonial contexts of collection and removal, and the creolisation of form. I then go on to explore other aspects of diaspora studies in relation to the material world of collections: considering, for example, ideas of return and the value of economic or symbolic remittances.
Discussant: Anna Grasscamp (Art History, Leiden)
Directly following the seminar (15:15-16:30) there will be a meet-the-author session for MAs and PhDs, moderated by Mariana Françozo (Archaeology).
Paul Basu is a social anthropologist and museum/heritage consultant. After training and working in film and television production for several years, Paul Basu received an MSc in Social Anthropology in 1996 and a PhD in Anthropology in 2002, both at University College London, where he was a student of Barbara Bender and Christopher Tilley. He taught in the Department of Anthropology at Sussex University for a number of years before taking up a Readership in Material Culture & Museum Studies at UCL's Institute of Archaeology in 2009.
Circulated papers (please read prior to the seminar):
Discussion with Arjen Oosterman, Vincent Schipper and Edwin Gardiner
The panel will introduce the changing idea of heritage in architecture and explore this through concrete examples. They will consider how this idea connects or disconnects with processes of migration.
Arjen Oosterman is a writer and educator as well as the editor-in-chief and publisher of Volume magazine, an independent quarterly that sets the agenda for design. By going beyond architecture’s definition of 'making buildings,' it reaches out for global views on designing environments, advocates broader attitudes to social structures, and reclaims the cultural and political significance of architecture. Created as a global idea platform to voice architecture any way, anywhere, anytime, it represents the expansion of architectural territories and the new mandate for design.
Vincent Schipper has a BA in East Asian Studies from NYU and an M.Phil. in Art History from Leiden University where he studied the theory and history of architecture. He is currently a Social and Architectural Researcher at Smart in Public, part of the editorial team of Stichting Archis and head at Type Project. He also works as a freelance writer, editor and translator.
Edwin Gardner is an architect by training, but primarily works as a writer, web-editor, curator and design researcher working on publications, workshops, exhibitions and online publishing. He is a regular contributor to Volume magazine and collaborator of Archis. He does research on modes of diagrammatic reasoning in architecture, whether performed by brain or machine. Currently, he is a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie, working on the Diagram Catalogue project, and the Tracing Concepts project in collaboration with Marcell Mars.
Dr. Alexander Geurds (Archaeology, Leiden) will present:
Tracing the fixing agent: On Americanist archaeology’s contemporary engagement with boundary, process and practice
To talk about material worlds from an archaeological perspective is an unruly challenge. More than ever before, archaeological narratives no longer foreground closed statements, steering clear from singular explanatory positions. Archaeology, at least in North American academia, is increasingly cautious. The tracing of cultural boundaries for example is avoided due to its culture historical roots. Rather than a paradox to earlier accusations of postprocessual freischweberei, Americanist archaeology now appears progressively critical in how it engages with material culture. The goal of this paper is not to “summarize” nor to “integrate” existing views on migration and object movement as studied in Americanist archaeology, instead its aim is to provide views on how these subjects are broached through invoking ethnic identity, essentially forming an archaeology of difference. Such an archaeology is relevant in our times, where differences between people, things, and ideologies persist, despite continually being debated and challenged.
Dr. Marieke Bloembergen (KITLV) & Dr. Martijn Eickhoff (NIOD) will present:
Save Borobudur! The moral dynamics of heritage formation in Indonesia across orders and borders, 1930s - ca. 1990
With a focus on the eights-century Buddhist temple complex Borobudur, this paper discusses the moral dynamics of heritage politics in colonial and postcolonial Indonesia and their effect on processes of identification, inclusion and exclusion, from local, transasian and international perspectives. Borobudur, like other famous temple complexes elsewhere in Asia, developed in the colonial era from a temple ruin covered by jungle-woods, into a state-legitimizing colonial heritage site, and from there, in the postcolonial era, into national (although also contested) heritage and a world heritage site. While it can be said that Borobudur was in that sense a colonial (re)construction, this colonial legacy apparently was no hindrance for postcolonial national leaders to use the sites so as to emphasize great pre-colonial ‘national pasts’, potential for the future, and/or the international allure that the status of world heritage site brings along. Borobudur, a Buddhist site, officially acknowledged as a dead monument, became a national icon of a predominantly Islamic Indonesia.
Dr. Wayne Modest from the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam will speak on:
"O bjects In Limbo – Towards a Museology of Displacement"
The history of the modern Caribbean is one of aggressive European conquest and near extermination of the indigenous peoples of the region. This was followed by colonisation and the repopulation of the region through abusive and oppressive force over Africans who were enslaved and brought to the region for labour. Enslaved Africans were torn not only from their home, family and the cultural groups to which they belonged, but also alienated from a past to which they could no longer connect. Later, when African labour could no longer be secured through force and was no longer easily available because of emancipation, other fungible bodies – indentured Indians, Chinese and more Africans - were brought in as replacements. The Caribbean that resulted was one produced in large part by western modernity – a region populated by new groups of arrivants involved in a socio-cultural and economic environment that has been described as modern in some ways even before Europe itself .
In this presentation I will explore what I believe to be the consequences of this history for thinking about the relationship between people and things. I will suggest that the history of Caribbean formation produced a complex relationship between Caribbean peoples and objects, as Caribbean identities were negotiated. The question that will inform my discussion is: within traditional museological conceptions of time, space and history/heritage, how do we account for a group of peoples whose originary formation is not so much located in the land of their current negotiations of identity and belonging, but rather within a colonial formation characterised by forced migration, disjuncture and loss? In addressing this question, I sketch the parameters of what I call a museology of displacement.
Wayne Modest is currently head of the Curatorial Department of the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He previously held positions as Keeper of Anthropology at the Horniman Museum in London and Director of the Museums of History and Ethnography at the Institute of Jamaica. He also held visiting research affiliations at Yale Centre for British Art, and New York University’s programme in Museums Studies. With a regional focus on the Caribbean, his research interests include material and visual culture; slavery; museum anthropology and the histories of collecting and exhibitionary practices. His publications include catalogue contributions, book chapters and the forthcoming book ‘The Contemporary Museum: Curators, Collections, Communities’ (Berg, co-edited with Viv Golding). Together with Paul Basu (UCL) he is the co-organiser of a series of forthcoming workshops with accompanying academic publications entitled Critical Conversations in Culture and Development. He is also working on an edited volume with Tim Barringer entitled 'Victorian Jamaica'.