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The Politics of Indigeneity and Heritage

Indonesian Mortuary Materials and Museums

Kathleen M. Adams

Abstract

This article contributes to comparative museology by examining curation practices and politics in several “museum-like” heritage spaces and locally run museums. I argue that, in this era of heritage consciousness, these spaces serve as creative stages for advancing potentially empowering narratives of indigeneity and ethnic authority. Understanding practices in ancestral spaces as “heritage management” both enriches our conception of museums and fosters nuanced understandings of clashes unfolding in these spaces as they become entwined with tourism, heritage commodification, illicit antiquities markets, and UNESCO. Drawing on ethnographic research in Indonesia, I update my earlier work on Toraja (Sulawesi) museum-mindedness and family-run museums, and analyze the cultural politics underlying the founding of a new regional Toraja museum. I also examine the complex cultural, religious, and political challenges entailed in efforts to repatriate stolen effigies (tau-tau) and grave materials, suggesting that these materials be envisioned as “homeless heritage” rather than “orphan art.”

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Introduction

Globalizing the History of French Decolonization

Jessica Lynne Pearson

Abstract

While the recent “transnational” and “global” turns in history have inspired new approaches to studying the French Revolution and the French Resistance, they have made a surprisingly minor impact on the study of French decolonization. Adopting a global or transnational lens, this special issue argues, can open up new possibilities for broadening our understanding of the collapse of France's global empire in the mid-twentieth century as well as the reverberations of decolonization into the twenty-first.

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Le Rallye Méditerranée-le Cap

Racing towards Eurafrica?

Megan Brown

Abstract

The retired military officers who organized the Rallye Méditerranée-le-Cap, a biennial car race from Algiers to Cape Town, did so to promote Eurafrica. Eurafrica, an idealized geopolitical fusion of the continents, would be a site of European partnership, with the rally literally paving the way. When its wealthy participants first took to the road in 1951, France, Belgium, and Britain administered much of the course. This article argues that the organizers viewed tourism as the best method for upholding European sovereignty in Africa. However, they did not account for new ways of doing empire in the postwar era, most notably the strength of anti-imperial activism and the advent of technologies that did not require direct access to large swathes of land. By the time of the fifth and final rally in 1961, organizers contended with realities they preferred to ignore: newly independent African states and the ongoing Algerian War of Independence.

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Stéphanie Ponsavady

This current issue marks the tenth anniversary of our journal. The jubilee also coincides and clashes with a critical time for all of us as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. Ten years ago, when Gijs Mom's team launched Transfers, the journal responded to an urgent need to think through and beyond mobilities scholarship. Today, as our mobilities have been upended and disrupted, it is with a renewed sense of urgency that we must assess the field and the impact of Transfers over the past decade. Indeed, many things have changed since the journal's founding.

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Sarah Wiliarty and Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

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Representations of Women in the French Imaginary

Historicizing the Gallic Singularity

Jean Elisabeth Pedersen

Abstract

This article, the introduction to the special issue “Representations of Women in the French Imaginary: Historicizing the Gallic Singularity,” frames the work of contributors Tracy Adams, Christine Adams, Jean Elisabeth Pedersen, Whitney Walton, and Kathleen Antonioli by analyzing two especially important contemporary debates about French sexual politics, one popular and one academic: (1) the international controversy over Catherine Deneuve's decision to sign a French manifesto against the American #MeToo movement in Le Monde; and (2) the mixed French and American response to the work of Mona Ozouf in Les mots des femmes: Essai sur la singularité française. The five articles in the special issue itself bring new breadth and depth to the study of these and related debates by exploring a range of different French representations of women in a series of key texts, topics, and historical episodes from the rise of the Middle Ages to the aftermath of World War I.

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Stéphanie Ponsavady

Almost ten years ago, Gijs Mom invited readers and scholars to hop on the bus to rethink our mobilities with the tools of humanities. This issue marks a change of crew as we transition between two editors. We thank Dagmar Schäfer for her leadership in deepening and challenging our thinking, especially in the areas of mobilities in Asia throughout time. We owe a debt of gratitude to Gina Grzimek, our outgoing editorial assistant, for her work shepherding submissions through their publication and mentoring her successor, Jessica Khan. We now present you an issue born out of our collective work, with the hope that it will take you on a journey both comforting and stimulating. This invitation comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has impeded or suspended our collective mobilities for the foreseeable future. In this context, we want to reaffirm Transfers’s interdisciplinary commitment to explore the ways in which various experiences of mobility have been enabled, shaped, and mediated.

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Working on this issue in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown is a tad surreal. One wants to resist the many voices who breathlessly proclaim that everything will be different “AC” (after corona). Besides the horrible health and economic aftereffects, things will likely be rather similar to the situation “BC” (before corona). Then again, maybe this will be some sort of turning point. For instance, western societies—particularly Germany—have long been oriented to the past. There were so many worthy anniversaries that some actually contemplated maintaining an “anniversary tracker” so as not to miss anything important. Suddenly, we are forced to be focused on the present and daunting future; and the near obsession with commemorations of various kinds appears to be coming to an end. Just months ago, many were looking forward to massive and internationally coordinated commemorations of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the end of WWII. Many countries indeed carried on with scaled-down events, but the coverage and resonance were minimal.

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Introduction

The Thirtieth Anniversary of The Fall of the Berlin Wall and Unification

Eric Langenbacher

It sometimes seems that Germany is a country perpetually caught in the past. There are so many anniversaries that some sort of tracker is necessary to remember them all. Commemorations in 2019 included the seventieth anniversaries of the foundation of the Federal Republic and the formation of the NATO alliance, the eightieth anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, the 100th anniversaries of the Treaty of Versailles, the foundation of the Weimar Republic, and German women achieving the right to vote. In 2020, important commemorations include the seventy-fifth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the 250th anniversaries of Beethoven’s and Hegel’s birth, as well as the 100th anniversary of the HARIBO company that invented gummi bears.

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Conal McCarthy

Museum Worlds: Advances in Research Volume 7 (2019) is an open issue, covering a rich variety of topics reflecting the range and diversity of today's museums around the globe. This year's volume has seven research articles, four of them dealing with very different but equally fascinating issues: contested African objects in UK museums, industrial heritage in Finland, manuscript collecting in Britain and North America, and Asian art exhibitions in New Zealand. But this issue also has a special section devoted to Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, which contains three articles and an interview.