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Re-individualising human remains from Namibia

Colonialism, grave robbery and intellectual history

Larissa Förster, Dag Henrichsen, Holger Stoecker and Hans Axasi╪Eichab

In 1885, the Berlin pathologist Rudolf Virchow presented three human skeletons from the colony of German South West Africa to the Berlin Society for Anthropology, Ethnology and Prehistory. The remains had been looted from a grave by a young German scientist, Waldemar Belck, who was a member of the second Lüderitz expedition and took part in the occupation of colonial territory. In an attempt to re-individualise and re-humanise these human remains, which were anonymised in the course of their appropriation by Western science, the authors consult not only the colonial archive, but also contemporary oral history in Namibia. This allows for a detailed reconstruction of the social and political contexts of the deaths of the three men, named Jacobus Hendrick, Jacobus !Garisib and Oantab, and of Belck’s grave robbery, for an analysis of how the remains were turned into scientific objects by German science and institutions, as well as for an establishment of topographical and genealogical links with the Namibian present. Based on these findings, claims for the restitution of African human remains from German institutions cannot any longer be regarded as a contemporary phenomenon only but must be understood as part of an African tradition of resistance against Western colonial and scientific practices.

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Disciplines of modernity

Entanglements and ambiguities

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Saurabh Dube

, societies, and peoples. At the same time, it is worth considering whether such hierarchically ordered evolutionary mappings of cultures and societies – turning on the “savage” form and the “primitive” figure – were excised from disciplinary formations with the emergence of fieldwork-based “scientific” anthropology in the first half of the twentieth century. First, the apparent

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The return of Herero and Nama bones from Germany

The victims' struggle for recognition and recurring genocide memories in Namibia

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Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha

as a record of the handover. To register their disappointment with the German side, the Namibian delegation to Berlin staged a protest. For instance, following the official handover ceremony, the Namibian Embassy in Berlin was informed that the German Namibia Society, in cooperation with the German Foreign Ministry, would host a cocktail reception for the delegation. Unfortunately, this offer came at a time when the delegation had already expressed their dissatisfaction with the hospitality afforded them by the German government. They felt the Foreign Office

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The unburied victims of Kenya’s Mau Mau Rebellion

Where and when does the violence end?

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David M. Anderson and Paul J. Lane

), 194–​222, and commentary. 28 Department of Culture, Media and Sport (UK), Guidance for the Care of Human Remains in Museums (London: DCMS, 2005), p. 8; H. Swain, An 32 32   Human remains in society Introduction to Museum Archaeology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 148–​9; P. L. Walker, ‘Bioarchaeological ethics: a historical perspective on the value of human remains’, in M. A. Katzenberg and S. R. Saunders (eds), Biological Anthropology of the Human Skeleton (2nd edn) (New York: Wiley Liss, 2008), pp. 3–​40. 29 See, for example, the position of

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Johan Östling

century. The new Berlin university had, with its emphasis on Bildung and research, brought with it a new ideal, the aim of which was to make the entire horizon of reality visible. Today, argued the leading proponent of hermeneutics, the university was again in a crisis, and this was a consequence of industrial society rewarding vocational training and practical skills to the detriment of Bildung and basic research. A new balance was sorely needed. However, Gadamer argued, a difficult problem had appeared in that the students had been alienated from Humboldt’s original

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From bones-as-evidence to tutelary spirits

The status of bodies in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge genocide

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Anne Yvonne Guillou

conceptualized by medical anthropology. Healthy body, sick body, dying body: from this perspective, the body is where all disorders are visible, and where the potential reforging of the links between the individual, society and the universe is promised. It is also the site upon which the traces of structural violence and the relations of social domination are inscribed. During my previous research, I had begun to realize that certain forms of illness were thought of as being linked to the suffering endured under the revolutionary regime of the Party of Democratic Kampuchea.4 A

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Birgit Lang

Politics’, Journal of European Studies, 39:3 (2009), pp. 305–19, p. 315. On biologis­ation, see Wetzell, Inventing the Criminal, pp. 125–78; on the depiction of crime in popular culture, see, for example, Maria Tatar, Lustmord: Sexual Murder in Weimar Germany (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995). 12 Todd Herzog, ‘Crime Stories: Criminal, Society, and the Modernist Case History’, Representations, 80 (2002), pp. 34–61, p. 35. 13 Daniel Siemens, ‘Explaining Crime. Berlin Newspapers and the Construction of the Criminal in Weimar Germany’, Journal of European

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The end of Irish history?

An introduction to the book

Colin Coulter

least at first glance – to be radically different. In his ruminations, Francis Fukuyama emerges as the principal heir to the classical tradition of modernisation theory. The metaphor of the ‘end of history’ entails the most unabashed declaration imaginable of the superiority of the values and institutions of western bourgeois society. The radical prescriptions that Fukuyama has advanced have, of course, proved profoundly persuasive to those agencies and individuals that exercise power at a global level. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world has been radically

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Alternative countrysides

Anthropology and rural West Europe today

Jeremy MacClancy

.aibr.org/antropologia/boant/criticos/SEP0201.html. Accessed 28 January 2009. Baré, Jean-François n.d. Britons in Rural France. Some Comments by an Anthropologist as a Quasi-native. Unpublished paper. Bellier, Irene and Thomas M. Wilson (eds) 2000 An Anthropology of the European Union. Building, Imagining and Experiencing the New Europe (Oxford: Berghahn). 24 J. MacClancy Benson, Michaela 2009 ‘The context and trajectory of lifestyle migration’, European Societies, 12: 1, 45–64. Bertran, Xandri, C. 1996 ‘Los productos locales: entre la protección y la normalización (el caso del tupí)’, Agricultura y

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Georg Elwert

requires first that the (potential) warlords’ ideological statements are not taken at face value but as nothing more than a means to win support and deter interference. Analyses have to be based on economic facts and on social patterns. Ten parameters have to be studied with priority. The patterns of violence That violence is patterned is an important finding of anthropological research. Violence exists in every society at least as a default option if no other means to pursue power interests are attainable. Violence in every society is contained by a normative arrangement