Larissa Förster held her talk at the Herrenhausen Symposium "Positioning Ethnological Museums in the 21st Century". She shares her ideas that base on four years on observing restitution processes with various continents. She therefore captures the present debate on the return of human remains and the restitution of objects in Germany. In the second part, Förster reflects on examples of repatriation from the past. Finally, she connects her analysis to present debates on restitution and the history of museum collections.

Larissa Förster is a research associate at the Center for Advanced Studies Morphomata at the University of Cologne and spokesperson of the Working Group on Museums of the German Anthropological Association. Her PhD is on the memory of colonialism in Namibia and she co-curated the exhibition "Namibia – Germany: a shared/divided history. Resistance, violence, memory" (Cologne and Berlin, 2004/05). In her current research she links issues of postcolonial memorialisation practices in Africa to a critical study of the history of European museum collections by looking at why, when and how human remains from European museum collections are (or are not) repatriated to postcolonial nation states. Most recently she (co-)edited the volumes "Transforming Knowledge Orders: Museums, Collections and Exhibitions" (Paderborn, 2013) and "Afropolis. City, Media, Art" (Johannesburg, 2012).

Photo: Philip Bartz for Volkswagen Foundation

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