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Open access

Tsenay Serequeberhan


The focus of the article is to explore the possibilities of philosophic discourse in the present postcolonial African situation. As indicated in the title, it will begin by exploring and laying out grosso modo, the character of philosophy as a discipline. It will then engage in examining, again broadly, Africa's present: the situation that has prevailed since the end of formal colonialism. Consequent on the two expositive presentations, the article will then indicate the role that philosophy can and should play in this situation. The aim is to explore the possible beyond the demise of colonialism in the hope of catching sight of a truly postcolonial future. The article is thus a concise articulation of the hermeneutical stance in contemporary African philosophy.

Open access

Anjuli Webster


This article discusses the contemporary history of South African social science in relation to the Azanian Philosophical Tradition. It is addressed directly to white scholars, urging introspection with regard to the ethical question of epistemic justice in relation to the evolution of the social sciences in conqueror South Africa. I consider the establishment of the professional social sciences at South African universities in the early twentieth century as a central part of the epistemic project of conqueror South Africa. In contrast, the Azanian Philosophical Tradition is rooted in African philosophy and articulated in resistance against the injustice of conquest and colonialism in southern Africa since the seventeenth century. It understands conquest as the fundamental historical antagonism shaping the philosophical, political, and material problem of ‘South Africa’. The tradition is silenced by and exceeds the political and epistemic strictures of the settler colonial nation state and social science.

Open access

Aratoi: Our Journeys to Aotearoa

Collaborative Knowledge Construction at a Regional Art Gallery in New Zealand

Esther Helen McNaughton


How can regional art galleries support the development of cultural understanding in their communities? The 2019 collaborative project Aratoi: Our Journeys to Aotearoa between Nelson, New Zealand's Suter Art Gallery te Aratoi o Whakatū and eight local schools explored this question. Students’ artworks were hung alongside the gallery's collection, enriching dialogue within the exhibition through the provision of voices otherwise absent. Building on the gallery's collection and history, this project demonstrated the evolution of the gallery's colonial roots into a broader discussion of culture. Participating teachers believed the project allowed public recognition of students’ abilities and ideas; expression of a school community's special character; cross-curricular learning; cohesive whole school learning; bicultural learning; and pre-service teacher development. It also enabled meaningful exploration of Aotearoa New Zealand's histories.

Open access

Are Museums Allowed to Keep a Secret?

Secret and Sacred Objects at the Weltmuseum Wien

Anna Bottesi


Today many ethnographic museums are questioning the hierarchical power relationships implicit in the act of representing the cultures of others. In this article I analyze the way that the curator of the South American section of the Weltmuseum Wien chose to deal with the exhibition of sacred and secret objects, that is, those things that only specific categories of individuals are allowed to view. If we exclude storage as a possible solution, what is the proper way to treat artifacts such as these? How should the expectations of an audience attracted to the idea of the exotic, and perhaps forbidden, be satisfied? How can this challenge be transformed into an opportunity to reflect about what we have, or have not, the right to do?

Open access

Inge Zwart, Susanne Boersma, Franziska Mucha, and Cassandra Kist

Care-ful Participation in Museums: A Review of The Museum as a Space of Social Care by Nuala Morse

Open access

Larissa Juip, Geuntae Park, Jill Haley, Joanna Cobley, Kristin D. Hussey, Eric J. Dorfman, and Ken Arnold

Yunci Cai. Staging Indigenous Heritage: Instrumentalisation, Brokerage, and Representation in Malaysia. New York: Routledge, 2021

Sang-hoon Jang. A Representation of Nationhood in the Museum. New York: Routledge, 2020

Claire Dumortier and Patrick Habets (eds.). Porcelain Pugs: A Passion, The T. & T. Collection. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2020

Stephen B. Heard. Charles Darwin's Barnacle and David Bowie's Spider: How Scientific Names Celebrate Adventurers, Heroes, and Even a Few Scoundrels. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2020

Anna Woodham, Alison Hess, and Rhianedd Smith (eds.). Exploring Emotion, Care, and Enthusiasm in “Unloved” Museum Collections. Leeds: Arc Humanities Press, 2020

Michael John Gorman. Idea Colliders: The Future of Science Museums. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2020

Peter Bjerregaard (ed.). Exhibitions as Research: Experimental Methods in Museums. New York: Routledge, 2020

Open access

Simon Knell


This article is a re-edited version of the opening prelude to the author's The Museum's Borders: On the Challenge of Knowing and Remembering Well (Routledge, 2021). Based on reportage concerning the Windrush scandal, this article makes the case for the museum to be understood as an autonomous institution critical to knowledge-based democracies. The scandal, exposed in 2018, was the result of the British Government's “hostile environment,” a brutal approach to immigration that ensnared historic migrants to Britain from the Caribbean. Resulting in state violence against Black British citizens, it revealed the degree to which Britain remained mired in institutional racism. Museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions played a critical role in recovering and asserting the history and legitimacy of these people.

Open access

Critique, Dialogue, and Action

Museum Representation in Black Panther

Susan Dine


In recent decades, the museum world has devoted time and resources to studying the opinions and actions of their visitors; however, it is much more difficult to access perspectives of a more general public that includes non-visitors. This article situates popular visual culture as a form of engagement between museum professionals and the public. By analyzing the museum scene of the Marvel Studios movie Black Panther, as well as responses to it, and then contextualizing these within the history and current events of the museum field, I identify ways in which popularly received visual culture can spur change in other cultural industries—creating productive critiques that can evolve into impactful dialogue and action to model responsive research and more inclusive museum practices.

Open access

Conal McCarthy

After a tumultuous year around the globe in the wake of COVID 19, the cultural sector, including museums, galleries, and other institutions, as well as universities, have emerged in 2021 scathed but still functioning. As an academic journal engaged with professional museum practice, it is to be expected that Museum Worlds 9 will reflect the unprecedented impact of the pandemic. If the 2020 issue was difficult to collate and produce, this year's issue was doubly so: academics and students are busy, stressed, and preoccupied with teaching online, while museum professionals are overworked, or out of work, or at home with their museums closed, and there are few exhibitions and public programs. Even the publishing industry seems to have been severely affected: new titles have been delayed, it is tricky to get books sent to readers due to holdups with freight, and writers, reviewers, and editors are busy, busy, busy.

Open access

Bruno Brulon Soares, Jennifer Coombes, Ailish Wallace-Buckland, and Hollie Tawhiao

The Museum of Removals in Vila Autódromo, Rio de Janeiro by Bruno Brulon Soares

Different Histories: A Story of Three Exhibitions in Canberra by Jennifer Coombes

National Treasures: Airing New Zealand's History on the Small Screen by Ailish Wallace-Buckland

E Hina e! E Hine e! Mana Waahine Maaori/Maoli of Past, Present and Future by Hollie Tawhiao