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The Representation of “Difficult Pasts” in Military Museums

The Portuguese Colonial War in the Portuguese Armed Forces Museums

André Caiado

This work addresses how the history of the Portuguese colonial war and its mnemonic productions are (non)represented in the Portuguese Armed Forces museums (Army, Air Force, and Navy). Through an analysis of the textual and visual contents of the exhibitions, activity reports, and institutional communication texts; site visits; and interviews with the museums’ staff, I seek to identify and examine the contexts of creation of these spaces and the production of the exhibitions’ content. I conclude that these spaces manifest the complexity of addressing the colonial war and colonial pasts and communicating “difficult pasts” in military museums. When the topic is addressed, the exhibitions tend to focus on the Portuguese perspective of the conflict and elide its colonial nature. I advocate a reformulation of the colonial war musealization, in order to avoid the normalization of warfare and provide more plural and complex perspectives on this historical phenomenon.

Open access

Vibe Nielsen, Henrietta Lidchi, Jesmael Mataga, Annelise Schroeder, Gwyneira Isaac, and Riley Rogerson

How to Practice Decoloniality in Museums: Practicing Decoloniality in Museums: A Guide with Global Examples, Csilla E. Ariese and Magdalena Wróblewska (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2021)

Listening to Art as the Voice of Our Time: The Online In-Conversation Series Indigenizing the (Art) Museum (Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge/OCAD University, Toronto)

National Museums in Africa: Some Reflections from the Continent: National Museums in Africa: Identity, History and Politics, Edited by Raymond Silverman, George Abungu, and Peter Probst (London: Routledge 2022)

From Paddock to Peace Garden: Heritage Politics and the Development of the Japanese Memorial Site at Featherston

Shadows, Strings & Other Things: The Enchanting Theater of Puppets

Open access

Special Section

Leading Thinkers in the Field - Howard Morphy

Howard Morphy, Jason M. Gibson, and Alison K. Brown

Anthropology, Art, and Ethnographic Collections: A Conversation with Howard Morphy

Jason M. Gibson (JG): In your book Museums, Infinity and the Culture of Protocols: Ethnographic Collections and Source Communities (Morphy 2020), you begin with an anecdote of visiting the Pitt Rivers Museum as a young child. Did museums play a part in sparking an interest in humanity, and its diversity, or were you fascinated by the Other?

Book Review: Museums, Societies and the Creation of Value, Howard Morphy and Robyn McKenzie, eds. (London: Routledge, 2022)

What does value mean within and beyond museum contexts? What are the processes through which value is manifested? How might a deeper understanding of these processes contribute to the practice of museum anthropology? These questions are explored in Museums, Societies and the Creation of Value, which looks at collaborative work in museums using ethnographic collections as a focus. Most of the chapters involve collections from Australia and the Pacific—reflecting the origins of many of them in two conferences associated with the project “The Relational Museum and Its Objects,” funded by the Australian Research Council and the Australian National University and led by Howard Morphy. Bringing together early career researchers, as well as museum-based scholars who have many years of thinking through and learning with community-based research partners, makes evident how the processual shifts in museum anthropology toward a more collaboratively grounded practice have become normalized, but crucially also highlights the value of “slow museology,” as the editors note in their introduction (3), acknowledging Raymond Silverman’s (2015) term. While the editors caution that the core values of ethnographic collections and museums are not universal, the inclusion of chapters from beyond the Australia/Pacific region highlights that the foundational underpinning values and aspirations for cross-cultural work—“the desire for understanding” and “the desire to be understood” (22) are shaping much of the innovative museum-based work currently being carried out worldwide. Examples include Gwyneira Isaac’s chapter on 3D technologies of reproduction and their value for Tlingit of Alaska, and Henrietta Lidchi and Nicole Hartwell’s examination of how materiality and memory intersect in collections associated with nineteenth-century British military campaigns.

Open access

Laura Phillips

Decolonizing and Indigenizing work needs to be done in museums and our day-to-day lives. On Turtle Island or so-called North America, the current settler colonial states add urgency to this work. Many settlers live on stolen land and benefit from colonial structures in ways that Indigenous friends, colleagues, and hosts do not. This article presents a self-reflective account of two museum studies courses I have been part of developing and delivering that incorporate decolonizing and Indigenizing principles. From my white settler perspective, I discuss the need for settlers to educate (or reeducate) ourselves as museum practitioners by putting decolonizing and Indigenizing words into conversation with our accountabilities in daily life.

Open access

Toward Repatriation of Human Remains as a Postcolonial Museum Practice

The Return of Toi Moko from France to Aotearoa New Zealand

Simon Jean-Nabbache

On 10 January 2022, the French Senate adopted a proposed law on the circulation and return of cultural objects owned by public collections (Sénat 2022). This may be considered the first step toward repatriation legislation. This law needs to be analyzed, voted on, and possibly amended by the National Assembly before it comes back to the Senate and is finally approved. Assuming the law will be finally voted in, this will be a milestone in the process of clarifying the role and the status of human remains in museums collections.

Open access

Emily Jean Leischner

In this article, I argue that recontextualizing Indigenous cultural heritage through institutional acquisition and cataloging can also be understood as a jurisdictional strategy that upholds the supremacy of US and Canadian legal regimes over Indigenous laws. To do this, I share what I have learned from participating in a Nation-led, community-based research project with the Nuxalk First Nation Ancestral Governance Office, in what is currently British Columbia, Canada. Our work together focused on reinvigorating the Nation’s laws, teachings, and protocols through the evolution of their own database of Nuxalk objects, still held in museum collections worldwide. I discuss this project and how it illustrates the legal context inherent to understanding much Nuxalk material culture. Next, bringing together literature on organizing knowledge in museums, settler colonial theories of dispossession, and archival copyright law, I look at how accessioning Indigenous objects into settler collections in the US and Canada is enacting another legal process, “written on top of” the legal meanings objects hold for the Nuxalk Nation, and reframing them as objects the museum has legitimate control and possession over. I close by reflecting on the strategies Nuxalk people, and other Indigenous artists and scholars, are undertaking to challenge the normative power of museum authority through interventions that are grounded in Indigenous governance and sovereignty.

Open access

Isidora Grubački


This contribution is a translation of a speech given by the president of the Yugoslav Feminist Alliance, Alojzija Štebi, to the second conference of the Little Entente of Women (LEW) in Belgrade in 1924. The introduction contextualizes the source, introduces Alojzija Štebi through a biographical note, and offers a glimpse into Yugoslav women's participation in the Little Entente of Women. It shows that Štebi's conceptualization of feminism was inseparable from politics, called for political reform, and invited the members of the LEW to move toward the full-scale participation of women in politics and state affairs.

Open access

Between Transnational Cooperation and Nationalism

The Little Entente of Women in Czechoslovakia

Gabriela Dudeková Kováčová


Focusing on the involvement of feminist activist women from Czechoslovakia in the Little Entente of Women (LEW), this article examines the ideological and political limits of transnational cooperation within such an international organization, one that aimed to promote women's rights and pacifism in Central and Eastern Europe. The case of Czechoslovakia suggests that deep, ideological divisions between liberal feminist and conservative nationalist threads within the LEW's national branch seriously undermined efforts at unity and “global sisterhood” on the international level. It became possible to overcome ideological and political differences in the 1920s without questioning the very existence of the LEW. However, the antirevisionist political agenda of states involved in the LEW was a decisive factor in its reorganization. This article characterizes the rather limited impact of the LEW's activities in Czechoslovakia and presents new details on its reorganization in the 1930s.

Open access

Between Tyranny and Self-Interest

Why Neo-republicanism Disregards Natural Rights

David Guerrero and Julio Martínez-Cava Aguilar


The first contribution of this article is a politico-philosophical map that, drawing upon two common sets of arguments against modern natural rights, might help to explain the prevailing neo-republican position on natural rights. Under the label ‘abstraction argument’, we explore the view that natural rights are a metaphysical construct that usually ends in a violent application of speculative principles to society. Under ‘self-interest argument’, we discuss the notion that natural rights endorse an atomistic and selfish conception of the human being. Second, we show how Cold War authors replicated these two arguments, conveying a biased, largely anti-republican and anti-democratic view of natural rights to the twentieth century. Third, drawing on these two arguments, we critically assess the narrow view of natural rights inherited by neo-republican scholars.

Open access

Birgitta Bader-Zaar, Evguenia Davidova, Minja Bujaković, Milena Kirova, Malgorzata Fidelis, Stefano Petrungaro, Alexandra Talavar, Daniela Koleva, Rochelle Ruthchild, Vania Ivanova, Valentina Mitkova, Roxana L. Cazan, Sylwia Kuźma-Markowska, and Nadia Danova

Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics 4, no. 2, “East European Feminisms, Part 1: The History of East European Feminisms,” eds. Maria Bucur and Krassimira Daskalova, 2020.

Maria Bucur, The Nation's Gratitude: World War I and Citizenship Rights in Interwar Romania, London: Routledge, 2022, vi–viii, 231 pp., $160.00 (hardback), $48.95 (ebook), ISBN: 978-0-367-74978-1.

Sanja Ćopić and Zorana Antonijević, eds., Feminizam, aktivizam, politike: Proizvodnja znanja na poluperiferiji. Zbornik radova u čast Marine Blagojević Hughson (Feminism, activism, politics: Knowledge production in the semiperiphery. Collection in honor of Marina Blagojević Hughson), Belgrade: Institute for Criminological and Sociological Research (IKSI), 2021, 621 pp., ISBN: 978-86-80756-42-4.

Krassimira Daskalova, Zhorzheta Nazarska, and Reneta Roshkeva, eds., Ot siankata na istoriata: Zhenite v bulgarskoto obshtestvo i kultura, volume 2, Izvori za istoriana na zhenite: Dnevnitsi, spomeni, pisma, beletristika (From the shadows of history: Women in Bulgarian society and culture, volume 2, Sources of women's history: diaries, memoirs, letters, fiction), Sofia: Sofia University Press, 2021, 621 pp., BGN 30 (paperback), ISBN: 978-954-07-5180-1.

Melissa Feinberg, Communism in Eastern Europe, New York: Routledge, 2022, 229 pp., $44.75 (paperback), ISBN 978-0-8133-4817-9

Fabio Giomi, Making Muslim Women European: Voluntary Associations, Gender, and Islam in Post-Ottoman Bosnia and Yugoslavia (1878–1941), Budapest: CEU Press, 2021, 420 pp., €88.00 (hardback), ISBN 978-963-386-369-5.

Yulia Gradskova, The Women's International Democratic Federation, the Global South and the Cold War: Defending the Rights of Women of the “Whole World”? London: Routledge, 2020, 222 pp. £29.59 (e-book), ISBN: 9781003050032.

Dagmar Gramshammer-Hohl and Oana Hergenröther, eds., Foreign Countries of Old Age: East and Southeast European Perspectives on Aging, Aging Studies, vol. 19, Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2021, 386 pp., €45 (paperback), ISBN: 978-3-8376-4554-5.

Wendy Z. Goldman and Donald Filtzer, Fortress Dark and Stern: The Soviet Home Front During World War II, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021, 528 pp., $34.95 (hardback), ISBN: 9780190618414.

Oksana Kis, Survival as Victory: Ukrainian Women in the Gulag, Harvard Series in Ukrainian Studies, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2021, 652 pp., 78 color photos, 10 photos, €84.50 (hardback), ISBN: 9780674258280.

Yelena Lembersky and Galina Lembersky, Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour: Memories of Soviet Russia, Boston: Cherry Orchard Books, 2022, 247 pp., $17.19 (paperback), ISBN: 978-1-64469-669-9.

Mihaela Miroiu, Povestiri despre Cadmav (Stories about Cadmav), Bucharest: Rocart, 2021, 270 pp., RON 31.00 (paperback), ISBN: 978-606-95093-0-2.

Mie Nakachi, Replacing the Dead: The Politics of Reproduction in the Postwar Soviet Union, New York: Oxford University Press, 2021, 352 pp., $39.95 (hardcover), ISBN: 978-0190635138.

Olga Todorova, Domashnoto robstvo i robovladenie v osmanska Rumelia (Domestic slavery and slave ownership in Ottoman Rumelia), Sofia: Gutenberg, 2021, 444 pp., BGN 30 (paperback), ISBN: 978-619-176-195-1.