As the Black Lives Matter protests have rocked the US and much of the West over 2020, the fight against public traces of an unforgotten era of North-South domination has gained the center of the battleground in public debate – at least for a few months. A push that adds pressure and calls to serious reflection many Western cultural institutions, and one type of them most importantly: ethnographic museums.
From Paris to Geneva, from Tervuren to Berlin or Milan, all “museums of civilizations” – as they are now increasingly known – have been grappling for years with issues such as restitution, contextualization, ownership and a complete rethinking of their own mission.
This Dossier looks at this very challenge, one in which questions and pressures are far more clear than answers. Together with a piece outlining in detail what is at stake, readers will ‘hear’ voices, and experiences, on the matter from Europe as well as Africa.