The Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory NUBS 3.06
Jul 06, 2023 13:30 - 15:00(Europe/London)
20230706T1330 20230706T1500 Europe/London 7.1. Decolonizing Memory NUBS 3.06 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023
38 attendees saved this session
Affordances of Greenlandic sound-recordings at the Danish National Museum – possibilities for decolonial collaborations and reconciliation?
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC
With the invention of the phonograph in the late 19th century, it became possible to record and store sound, and ethnographers engaged in anthropometric and anthropological projects around the world quickly incorporated the new technology in their measuring, documenting, and recording practices (Brady 1999). With the help of sonic recording devices, sounds from different people could be made and stored in formats separate from the humans that produced them: the new technology made human sound copyable, preservable, collectable, storable, and mobile. As a result, large collections of sound recordings can be found in anthropological and ethnographic museums primarily in Europe and North America. 
With a few exceptions, the recordings have been living long, forgotten lives in museum archives and storage facilities. Recently however there has been a growing interest internationally in reactivating the sound recordings in exhibitions as well as in preserving, disseminating, and perhaps 'repatriating' them through digitization. Furthermore, the scholarly interest in sound recordings of Indigenous communities has been increasing (e.g. Hoffmann 2020; Robinson 2020)
This paper takes the case of the Greenlandic sound recordings in the Ethnographic collections at the Danish National Museum as a point of departure for investigating the affordances of such collections that were created within colonial knowledge projects, but which might constitute arenas for developing decolonizing collaborations between institutions and communities across former colonial divides.
Despite the tensions between Denmark and Greenland in relation to the colonial past and to the current status of Greenland within the realm of the 'Danish Commonwealth', there has been a focus from both sides on repatriation of material culture to Greenland – most notably in the ambitious project Utimut (Greenlandic for 'return') which took place from 1982-2001 as a partnership between the Danish and Greenlandic National Museums (Gabriel & Dahl (eds.) 2008). 
The Utimut project, however, focussed mainly on traditional ethnographic objects and the questions asked in this paper are whether and how a collection of sound recordings might afford new forms of decolonial collaborations? Can the mobility of sound recordings – particularly when digitized – make new aspects of the Greenlandic-Danish colonial history (including the history of the sound recordings themselves) accessible to a wider public in Greenland and Denmark – and in new ways? In short: can sound recordings collected as part of a colonial knowledge project facilitate the formation of decolonizing relations within communities and across the former colonial divide – and how?
Anne Folke Henningsen
Associate Professor, University Of Copenhagen
Searching for brave spaces through decolonial heritage activism
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC
Movements like Black Lives Matter have been successful in mainstreaming debates on colonialism and broadening the debates from museum collections and practices to the ways colonial traces manifest in public spaces. Despite increased debates on museum activism and the need to decolonize museums, the ability of museums and heritage sites to turn into brave, decolonial spaces of societal change often continues to be questioned. Interestingly, however, while the museums have been learning to cope with their colonial histories, they have also become platforms for external interventions by artists and activists seeking to decolonize dominant memory practices. 
Building on critical heritage studies, (decolonial) heritage activism is understood as sustained performative processes that are broader than protests targeting single objects or museums. This activism takes place both in situ at museums and heritage sites, in public spaces as well as in online environments. The presentation will focus on the ways these different protest media build on each other and how heritage activists construct their agency vis-a-vis the museum as the dominant heritage actor. Understanding these activist interventions is an important avenue to debate around memory politics as well as to better understand the relationships between heritage sites and the various publics they serve. 
Empirically the presentation will introduce three small case studies that combine direct protests in museum spaces with active online debate. The cases exemplify different dynamics and practices of contemporary heritage activism. Examples include activist and art historian Alice Procter, the founder of the Uncomfortable Art Tours; Mwazulu Diyabanza, an activist who was arrested after trying to re-claim a Chadian funeral staff from Quai Branly Museum; and the Suohpanterror, a Sámi art collective based in Finland who use their art as a form of indigenous political protest.
Johanna Turunen
Post-doctoral Researcher, University Of Jyväskylä
Spiritual decolonial memories as alternatives to the living conditions dictated by the modern/colonial world system
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC
This paper explores the spiritual memories that some mestiza women in Mexico advocate as liberating approaches to the conditions shaped by the modern/colonial world-system (Quijano, 2000) with a particular focus on gender and ethnicity as imbricated marks of oppression. Divided into three sections, the proposal unfolds a theoretical and methodological framework informed by feminist decolonial critique and storytelling. Firstly, I identify the modernity/coloniality conditions driving mestiza women to seek and practice spiritualities rooted in ancestral indigenous inheritance. Secondly, I deploy the narrative production method to account mestiza women's resistance to the coloniality of gender (Lugones, 2007) and the spiritual coloniality (Walsh, 2012). Finally, I outline how spiritual memories allow for the decolonial rehearsal of alternative subjectivities to face the unlivable conditions placed by the modern/colonial world-system. Overall, this paper contributes to an existing body of research dialoguing spirituality with a critical feminist and decolonial memory praxis.
Paola Mendoza Téllez Girón
Phd Student, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco
Infinity Unfolds on the Horizon: Poetry of the CHamoru Diaspora
Individual paperThe Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory 00:00 Midnight - 00:00 Midnight (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC
The title of this paper comes from a poem by CHamoru poet, Clarissa Mendiola, whose work grapples with the diasporic experiences of the CHamoru people of Guam. In this paper, which links the fields of Cultural Memory Studies and Native American/Indigenous Studies, I argue that that the nature of CHamoru identity and community is as fluid and vast as the Pacific Ocean itself. Rather than foregrounding the geographical barriers between Guam and the continental United States, Mendiola utilizes land- and water-based metaphors to enact a decolonial poetics that illustrates the interconnectedness of Chamorro communities on the island and off. Feelings of home and belonging do not end at a boundary, whether at a national or state boundary line or at the International Date Line. Rather, the diasporic CHamoru community's sense of belonging continuously flows back and forth like ocean currents, linking the home island of Guam to the CHamoru communities of California, and elsewhere throughout the continental United States. Mendiola's decolonial poetics negate efforts to estrange members of the Chamorro community from one another and from themselves.  
Presenters Francisco Delgado
Assistant Professor, English, BMCC/CUNY
Associate professor
University of Copenhagen
Post-doctoral researcher
University of Jyväskylä
Phd student
Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco
Assistant Professor, English
HOGENT School of Arts, & Ghent University
Postdoctoral Researcher
The Institute of Contemporary History, Czech Academy of Sciences
Upcoming Sessions
526 visits