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Skulls and skeletons from Namibia in Berlin

Results of the Charité Human Remains Project

Holger Stoecker and Andreas Winkelmann

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.

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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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Imperial skulduggery, science and the issue of provenance and restitution

The fate of Namibian skulls in the Alexander Ecker Collection in Freiburg

Reinhart Kößler

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.

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Human remains of Ovaherero and Nama

Transnational dynamics in post-genocidal restitutions

Elise Pape

Taking its starting point from a socio-anthropological study combining biographical interviews, semi-structured interviews and ethnographic observations collected between 2016 and 2018 in Germany, France and the United States among Ovaherero and Nama activists, and also members of different institutions and associations, this article focuses on the question of human remains in the current struggle for recognition and reparation of the genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama from a transnational perspective. First, the text shows the ways in which the memory of human remains can be considered as a driving force in the struggle of the affected communities. Second, it outlines the main points of mismatches of perspective between descendants of the survivors and the responsible museums during past restitutions of human remains from German anthropological collections. Third, the article more closely examines the resources of Ovaherero in the United States in the struggle for recognition and reparation, the recent discovery of Namibian human remains in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the questions that it raises.

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The homecoming of Ovaherero and Nama skulls

Overriding politics and injustices

Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha

In October 2011, twenty skulls of the Herero and Nama people were repatriated from Germany to Namibia. So far, fifty-five skulls and two human skeletons have been repatriated to Namibia and preparations for the return of more skulls from Germany were at an advanced stage at the time of writing this article. Nonetheless, the skulls and skeletons that were returned from Germany in the past have been disappointingly laden with complexities and politics, to such an extent that they have not yet been handed over to their respective communities for mourning and burials. In this context, this article seeks to investigate the practice of ‘anonymising’ the presence of human remains in society by exploring the art and politics of the Namibian state’s memory production and sanctioning in enforcing restrictions on the affected communities not to perform, as they wish, their cultural and ritual practices for the remains of their ancestors.

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Caroline Fournet, Benoit Pouget and Jean-Marc Dreyfus

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Richard Parrish

This chapter investigates the theoretical basis for European Union (EU) sports law and policy. The arguments forwarded by intergovernmentalists and neofunctionalists are reviewed. Hoffmann's obstinate nation state restricted itself to uncontroversial economic integration. Milward argues that the EU became an external support system for Europe's nations. Moravcsik's accounts of European integration focus on the preferences and power of the member states. Neofunctionalism remains clearly distinct from the intergovernmentalist camp in that neofunctionalism de-emphasises state capabilities in the regional integration process. Sabatier's Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) focus on competing advocacy coalitions within policy subsystems effectively captures the real nature of EU governance. He identifies a number of factors affecting the development of policy within a subsystem. The focus on the role of political institutions in shaping policy is the concern of new institutionalism. The interplay between actors and institutions creates policy-specific governance regimes within policy subsystems.

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Richard Parrish

This chapter outlines the pre-Bosman environment where no sports policy subsystem operated. The emergence and composition of the pre-Bosman subsystem are reported. Additionally, it examines the institutional resources at the coalitions disposal. A belief in the primacy of negative integration is central to the deep core belief system of the Single Market coalition. Sport must abide by the fundamentals of European Union (EU) primary and secondary legislation. The socio-cultural coalition acknowledges that sport is not above the law. Not all sports bodies support the maximalists' agenda. Sabatier argues that competition between rival advocacy coalitions within the subsystem can generate policy change. Member state activity in sport has increased since Bosman. It is argued that compromise has been essential to the birth of EU sports law and policy. The birth of sports law is a tactic employed to avoid the use of legislation specifically directed at sport.

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Richard Parrish

The increasing commercialisation of sport raises important questions concerning regulation. The development of the European Union (EU) and the internationalization of sporting competition have added an international dimension to this debate. Yet sport is not only a business, it is a social and cultural activity. Can regulation at the EU level reconcile this tension? Adopting a distinctive legal and political analysis, this book argues that the EU is receptive to the claim of sport for special treatment before the law. It investigates the birth of EU sports law and policy by examining the impact of the Bosman ruling and other important European Court of Justice decisions, the relationship between sport and EU competition law, focusing particularly on the broadcasting of sport, the organization of sport and the international transfer system, and the relationship between sport and the EU Treaty, focusing in particular on the impact of the Amsterdam and Nice declarations on sport and the significance of the Helsinki report on sport. This text raises questions concerning the appropriate theoretical tools for analysing European integration.