The fate of Namibian skulls in the Alexander Ecker Collection in
This article explores the history of the Alexander Ecker Collection and situates
it within the larger trajectory of global collecting of human remains during the
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This is then linked to the specific
context of the genocide in then German South West Africa (1904–8), with
the central figure of Eugen Fischer. The later trajectory of the collection
leads up to the current issues of restitution. The Freiburg case is instructive
since it raises issues about the possibilities and limitations of provenance
research. At the same time, the actual restitution of fourteen human remains in
2014 occurred in a way that sparked serious conflict in Namibia which is still
on-going four years later. In closing, exigencies as well as pressing needs in
connection with the repatriation and (where possible) rehumanisation of human
remains are discussed.
Contemporary civilisational analysis has emerged in the post-Cold War period as a forming but already controversial field of scholarship. This book focuses on the scholarship produced in this field since the 1970s. It begins with anthropological axioms posited by Ibn Khaldun, Simon Bolivar and George Pachymeres. Three conceptual images of civilisations are prominent in the field. First, civilisations are conceived as socio-cultural units, entities or blocs in an 'integrationist' image. They emerge out of long-term uneven historical processes. Finally, in a 'relational' image civilisations are believed to gain definition and institute developmental patterns through inter-societal and inter-cultural encounters. The book traces the history of semantic developments of the notions of 'civilisation' and 'civilisations' coextensive with the expansion of Europe's empires and consubstantial with colonialism. Early modernities are more important in the long formation of capitalism. Outlining the conceptual framework of inter-civilisational engagement, the book analytically plots the ties instituted by human imaginaries across four dimensions of inter-civilisational engagement. It also interrogates the relationship between oceans, seas and civilisations. Oceanian civilisation exhibits patterns of deep engagement and connection. Though damaged, Pacific cultures have invoked their own counter-imaginary in closer proximity to past islander experiences. Collective memory provides resources for coping with critical issues. The book also explores Latin American and Japanese experiences that shed light on the engagement of civilisations, applying the model of inter-civilisational engagement to modern perspectives in culture and the arts, politics, theology and political economy.
Ontologies of connection, reconstruction of memory
Jeremy C.A. Smith
migration. Through voyaging and migration,
islander societies expanded, creating and sustaining zones of engagement for
millennia before Europeans came. Travel stimulated an imaginary of exchange,
the second theme. Exchange cannot be understood with a utilitarian mindset;
it is rather an expression of relationship, association and alliance –engagement
broadly speaking. The third theme is the new world context. European colonialism conjoined the Pacific to other civilisations in more extensive engagement.
This was a violent and disordering historical experience for the
. Unprecedented waves of migration
to and within the Atlantic world patterned the institution of American societies.
Colonialism structured migration in Asia even more than in the second period.
Tens of millions of indentured contract labourers moved. Some returned to their
countries of origin; many joined new communities that became entrenched over
time. Chinese and Indian traders were prominent in dealings with the new colonisers and lived in enclave communities of their own, whether within Asia and
the Pacific or in southern or eastern Africa. Distinctly new migratory routes
. The same market economy that ‘frees’ Appiah
works to ‘unfree’ non-metropolitan peoples.5
I want to suggest that Achebe’s Home and Exile subtly and powerfully implicates contemporary cosmopolitical thought in the historical
violence practised by European colonialism in Africa. Cosmopolitan perspectives, for Achebe, are ultimately present-day expressions of the old
‘Pax Britannica’: the liberal story that Empire likes to tell about itself.
That story Achebe began to explode with his 1958 classic novel Things
Fall Apart, in which the colonial ‘pacification’ of the
of the women in my street market sites – black women, white Neapolitan women, those working in the market or those passing through – revealed key insights about interconnected patterns of sexual conventions and racialised domination in Napoli. These conventions uncovered a melancholic recollection of colonialism and US military occupation – that continued to demarcate the city in subtle ways – and laid the groundwork for negotiating and managing contemporary fears around racial intimacy.
Paranoias about the threat to local ‘sexual preserves’ were articulated
Parry’s concern with socialist eurovision has intensified since then, as
is evident in her forthcoming article ‘Liberation Theory: Variations on
Themes of Marxism and Modernity’. But if in 1987 she was content
merely to identify a problem, now we find she is concerned to analyse the
problem of the left’s non-engagement with colonialism, locating as crucial the ‘shift away from the political’ in European Marxism that began in
the 1930s. However, Parry’s politics of hope and her analytic rigour prevent her from blanket denunciation. She gets at the problem of European
The unburied victims of Kenya’s
Mau Mau Rebellion: where and when
does the violence end?
David M. Anderson and Paul J. Lane
All over central Kenya, the bones are coming up. Travelling around
the countryside of the Kikuyu-speaking areas of these intensely
farmed and closely settled fertile highlands, there are strange
patches of uncultivated land to be seen: places where local farmers
have found the remains of their kith and kin, those who were killed
during Kenya’s bloody rebellion against colonialism in the 1950s.
At Othaya, where the bitter war raged
Bordering intimacy is a study of how borders and dominant forms of intimacy, such as family, are central to the governance of postcolonial states such as Britain. The book explores the connected history between contemporary border regimes and the policing of family with the role of borders under European and British empires. Building upon postcolonial, decolonial and black feminist theory, the investigation centres on how colonial bordering is remade in contemporary Britain through appeals to protect, sustain and make family life. Not only was family central to the making of colonial racism but claims to family continue to remake, shore up but also hide the organisation of racialised violence in liberal states. Drawing on historical investigations, the book investigates the continuity of colonial rule in numerous areas of contemporary government – family visa regimes, the policing of sham marriages, counterterror strategies, deprivation of citizenship, policing tactics, integration policy. In doing this, the book re-theorises how we think of the connection between liberal government, race, family, borders and empire. In using Britain as a case, this opens up further insights into the international/global circulations of liberal empire and its relationship to violence.
-century perspectives in turn have a pre-history in the development of
a vocabulary of related terms and a discourse around civilisations bound up with
experiences of colonialism. Before illustrating the three kinds of uses of ‘civilisation’ and ‘civilisations’, I want to trace the history of semantic developments
of the notions of ‘civilisation’ and ‘civilisations’ coextensive with the expansion
of Europe’s empires and consubstantial with colonialism. Through this, we can
see how the conceptual apparatus was implicated in colonialism and how it was
mobilised in critiques of