2013-2014 Colloquium Series
The Tourism Studies Working Group is pleased to announce
THE REPRESENTATION OF NATIVE AMERICA IN GERMAN MUSEUMS
University of Rostock, Germany
Friday, February 21, 5:30 PM
Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall
University of California, Berkeley
This paper will contrast the private and public collector's domain concerning Native American artifacts in German museums. Gehricke's Indian Museum is a private facility located in the German countryside away from public institutions and the academy. Being outdated in terms of display strategies, the exhibition is an intriguing meta-narrative of ethnographic collections. It will be contrasted with the Ethnographisches Museum Berlin, an institution established in the late nineteenth century together with the discipline of anthropology in Germany. As the museum struggles with a decline of visitors, it nevertheless rejects popular infotainment and inclusion strategies of museums in the Anglophone world insisting on an academic background (that it contrasts with any form of entertainment).
Currently, Germany plans a Museum of World Cultures, the Humboldt Forum that has already been discussed suspiciously by museum specialists worldwide. Here, the reconstructed Berlin Castle will eventually house objects from various ethnographic collections to promote a multicultural society. This highly problematic endeavour will reveal crucial difference between settler and non-settler communities and indigenous participation.
I will approach these different museums with Derrida's hauntology to connect them to the past as well as to space and the issue of mobility and travel.
Andrea Zittlau studied German, English and American Studies at the University of Rostock and at the University of Aberdeen. She received an M.A. in 2005 and has been working since then as a research assistant and lecturer at the department of North American Cultural Studies at the University of Rostock. Since 2006 she additionally coordinates the Graduate College "Cultural Encounters and Discourses of Scholarship" (funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) also at the University of Rostock.