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.
From 2010 to 2013 the Charité Human Remains Project researched the provenance of the
remains of fifty-seven men and women from the then colony of German South West Africa. They
were collected during German colonial rule, especially but not only during the colonial war
1904–8. The remains were identified in anthropological collections of academic
institutions in Berlin. The article describes the history of these collections, the aims,
methods and interdisciplinary format of provenance research as well as its results and finally
the restitutions of the remains to Namibia in 2011 and 2014.
era of traditional, chemical photography, but it has become more difficult in the
era of digital photography, in which editing and manipulation of photos is widespread, cheap and
easy ( Taylor, 2000: 132 ). In fact, it is strained to
breaking point now photographs are frequently disembodied from their producer and sent into the
world without any detail of their provenance.
Alarmingly, the technology that enables multimedia deception improves every day. Engineers and
programmers have created software that can mimic voice exactly; and they are
This epilogue turns attention to
salient subjects of a modernist provenance on the Indian subcontinent.
Now, in South Asia, a certain haziness regarding modernism and modernity
derives not only from the manner in which they can be elided with each
other, but the fact that they are both frequently filtered through the
optics of modernization. At stake is the acute, albeit altering
their individuality, that is, in their empirical life, work and relationships. In
defending Jewish emancipation against the restoration of the Jewish question, Marx
re-affirmed the subjective right of Jews to be citizens, to be Jews, and to deal
creatively, singularly, in their own way, with their Jewish origins. Real humanism
is a revolt against the tyranny of provenance.
The humanist Marx we are endeavouring to uncover is doubtless not
the only Marx we could
task in my hand as to his papers’.86
Some of the histories claim to rely on documentary sources no longer
extant. The Matheson history written in 1838 made use of family papers of
seventeenth-century provenance apparently now lost.87 Seumas Fraser had
access to records, including an annalistic compilation, maintained at the
Valliscaulian Priory of Beauly,88 and another chronicle, Scriptum Bunchriviae,
The genealogical histories of Gaelic Scotland
‘bearing the exact date of the death of all our lords and gentlemen for 200
yeares, for by tradition among us
This book explores modernity, the disciplines, and their interplay by drawing in critical considerations of time, space, and their enmeshments. Based in anthropology and history, and drawing on social-political theory (as well as other, complementary, critical perspectives), it focuses on socio-spatial/disciplinary subjects and hierarchical-coeval tousled temporalities. The spatial/temporal templates reveal how modern enticements and antinomies, far from being analytical abstractions, intimate instead ontological attributes and experiential dimensions of the worlds in which we live, and the spaces and times that we inhabit and articulate. Then, the book considers the oppositions and enchantments, the contradictions and contentions, and the identities and ambivalences spawned under modernity. At the same time, rather than approach such antinomies, enticements, and ambiguities as analytical errors or historical lacks, which await their correction or overcoming, it attempts to critically yet cautiously unfold these elements as constitutive of modern worlds. The book draws on social theory, political philosophy, and other scholarship in the critical humanities in order to make its claims concerning the mutual binds between everyday oppositions, routine enchantments, temporal ruptures, and spatial hierarchies of a modern provenance. Then, it turns to issues of identity and modernity. Finally, the book explores the terms of modernism on the Indian subcontinent.
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.
By expanding the geographical scope of the history of violence and war, this
volume challenges both Western and state-centric narratives of the decline of
violence and its relationship to modernity. It highlights instead similarities
across early modernity in terms of representations, legitimations, applications
of, and motivations for violence. It seeks to integrate methodologies of the
study of violence into the history of war, thereby extending the historical
significance of both fields of research. Thirteen case studies outline the
myriad ways in which large-scale violence was understood and used by states and
non-state actors throughout the early modern period across Africa, Asia, the
Americas, the Atlantic, and Europe, demonstrating that it was far more complex
than would be suggested by simple narratives of conquest and resistance.
Moreover, key features of imperial violence apply equally to large-scale
violence within societies. As the authors argue, violence was a continuum,
ranging from small-scale, local actions to full-blown war. The latter was
privileged legally and increasingly associated with states during early
modernity, but its legitimacy was frequently contested and many of its violent
forms, such as raiding and destruction of buildings and crops, could be found in
activities not officially classed as war.
In May 1958, and four years into the Algerian War of Independence, a revolt again appropriated the revolutionary and republican symbolism of the French Revolution by seizing power through a Committee of Public Safety. This book explores why a repressive colonial system that had for over a century maintained the material and intellectual backwardness of Algerian women now turned to an extensive programme of 'emancipation'. After a brief background sketch of the situation of Algerian women during the post-war decade, it discusses the various factors contributed to the emergence of the first significant women's organisations in the main urban centres. It was only after the outbreak of the rebellion in 1954 and the arrival of many hundreds of wives of army officers that the model of female interventionism became dramatically activated. The French military intervention in Algeria during 1954-1962 derived its force from the Orientalist current in European colonialism and also seemed to foreshadow the revival of global Islamophobia after 1979 and the eventual moves to 'liberate' Muslim societies by US-led neo-imperialism in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the women of Bordj Okhriss, as throughout Algeria, the French army represented a dangerous and powerful force associated with mass destruction, brutality and rape. The central contradiction facing the mobile socio-medical teams teams was how to gain the trust of Algerian women and to bring them social progress and emancipation when they themselves were part of an army that had destroyed their villages and driven them into refugee camps.