Missionaries and Colonialism in a Postcolonial Museum

Or, How a Finnish Peasant Can Become an African Folk Hero

in Social Analysis
View More View Less
  • 1 University of Manchester ian.s.fairweather@manchester.ac.uk
Restricted access

This article sets out to locate a particular postcolonial museum in its historical context, concentrating on local responses to change. It focuses on the specific historical interaction between villagers in northern Namibia and Finnish missionaries, and demonstrates that the dynamics of this interaction have led the villagers to remember the past in terms of a cleavage between pagans and Christians that is played out in the regular performances that take place for foreign visitors at the Nakambale museum. I argue that the performance of ‘tradition’ allows local people to transform the narrative presented in the physical layout of the museum into one that both emphasizes their own historical agency and demonstrates their contemporary Christian identities. The traditional/modern dichotomy implied by the museum’s narrative of the civilizing influence, brought by Christianity, provides them with an opportunity to do just that.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 32 32 7
Full Text Views 5 5 0
PDF Downloads 4 4 0