This article starts from the question of whether the concepts “cosmopolitan
memory” and “shared heritage,” with their inherent universalism, are helpful when
dealing with ethnographic collections from the Amazon. After presenting some historical
context information on the collections in focus, I contrast different notions of
“cosmopolitanism” and “cosmopolitics,” drawing on Latin American perspectives. The
latter claim to represent an epistemological alternative to a Europe-centered cosmopolitan
project. They propose a focus on difference, which in relation to the museum
and its working processes means looking at the collections through the others’ lenses.
This approach is applied to a collaborative research project between the Ethnological
Museum of Berlin and an indigenous university in the Amazon, in order to document
and reflect on the outcomes and dilemmas that have emerged thus far.