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In this newsletter:

Updates from CARMAH

Dear readers,

Starting a new Corona semester does not stop us from looking forward to different and warmer days ahead. We hope our spring newsletter finds you well and you are able to stay safe and in good spirits during these times.

This summer semester began with an exciting first event in a series of online discussions organized by the ICOM International Committee for Collecting (COMCOL) in collaboration with the CARMAH Museum lab, the University of Würzburg, the University of Tübingen, and the Universalmuseum Joanneum. Under the title 'Making Museums Matter. On the Socio-Political Relevance of Museums', three wonderful guests discussed with a large digital audience and showed that these difficult times also have the potential of bringing many people from different places together.

For more information about the Museum Lab, the COMCOL series, past and upcoming CARMAH events, please see below and visit our website!

A classroom for error – Nicolás Paris (1977)
 photo: Pedro Ribeiro Simões, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr

New CARMAH members & guests

Habiba Isaf
's research at CARMAH looks at the politics of display and interpretation of Indian objects in Berlin Museums. Her PhD is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation. Habiba earned her Master in Arts and Aesthetics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. As an integral member of a Delhi based culture consultancy, she worked with a range of museums such as The National Museum, Delhi, and schools such as Mayo College in Ajmer.

Katrine Mandrup Bach has been a PhD student at Aarhus University in Denmark since 2018 and is currently a guest at CARMAH. Her project with the tentative title 'Using the Past to Build the Future' focuses on alternative heritage initiatives in Egypt. Katrine obtained her BA in Anthropology and Museology in 2016 and completed her Masters in General Anthropology in 2019 as part of her PhD.


At this year's conference of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK Jonas Tinius, Margareta von Oswald and Sharon Macdonald were part of the panel 'Taking Responsibility for Colonial Heritage in Europe? Perspectives from Organisational Ethnographies.' 

Together with Jennie Morgan, Sharon Macdonald gave the lecture 'What to keep?' that drew on research from the Heritage Futures research programme. This research included studies of museums and also of individual homes, looking at topics such as collecting, storage and disposal. The event was moderated by Arjen Dijkstra, head of the University Museum of the University of Groningen.

Sharon Macdonald discussed the ongoing multi-researcher ethnography 'Making Differences in Berlin: Ethnographies, Museums and Heritage Developments' as part of the Department of Anthropology's Seminar Series at the University of Aberdeen. The work focuses on a range of museum and heritage developments, all of which, in various ways, have been attempting to 'do difference differently' from how it was perceived to have been done previously. 

The University of Oslo's Department of Anthropology featured a talk by Sharon Macdonald and Tal Adler: 'Who is ID8470? Making an Artistic Difference in the Humboldt Forum, Berlin.' In addition to presenting Tal's artwork itself, the talk discussed the wider context of its making and reception, as well as developments and possibilities within the relationships between anthropology and art. 

Tahani Nadim gave the lecture 'Science studies and open science: from strong objectivity to cognitive justice' as part of the Ringvorlesung 'Open Science und Forschungsqualität in Theorie und Praxis' at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. 

Andrei Zavadski and Ksenia Robbe presented the paper ''C'mon, Turn on Swan Lake': The 1990s in the Belarusian Protests of 2020' at the International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development, National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE University), Moscow.

Teaching at CARMAH

CARMAH researchers offer a range of teaching at the Institute of European Ethnology. In the summer semester 2021, CARMAH members offer courses for Bachelor and Master students:

Course by Sharon Macdonald: 'Heritage matters' (BA)

Courses by Magdalena Buchczyk: 'Researching collections' (MA) & 'Eastern Europe: an imagined space' (BA)

Course by Larissa Förster & Margarete von Oswald: 'Alles Raubgut? Debatten, Methoden und aktuelle Entwicklungen in der Provenienzforschung zu kolonialen Sammlungen' (BA)

Course by Tahani Nadim together with Hagit Keysar: 'Data natures SP II' (MA)

Courses by Alice von Bieberstein: 'Biopolitics, necropolitics, neoliberalism' (MA) & 'Michel Foucault' (BA)

Starting in the next winter semester (2021/2022), two MA Studenprojekte will be offered: Alice von Bieberstein: 'Politiken der Trauer, (revolutionäre?) Heritage Praktiken und die Frage des Exils' & Tahani Nadim: 'Die Verdatung der Natur - Data natures.'


'Re-Sounding Place? An Ethnographic Invitation' is an edited excerpt by Chiara Garbelotto's 'Participation' and Citizen Science In Natural History Museums. A Report on Ethnographic Research in the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin for CARMAH's reflection page. In her ethnographic research and writing, Chiara critically engages with the concepts of 'biodiversity' and 'participation' as multiple and of 'knowing' and 'caring' as political, exploring current public engagement practices in natural history museums as more-than-human assemblages.


Reverberations. Violence Across Time and Space, ed. by Yael Navaro, Zerrin Özlem Biner, Alice von Bieberstein, and Seda Altug. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

'Encountering Authenticity in the Contact Zone? Museums, Refugees and Participation' by Susannah Eckersley (2020). In: Museen – Orte des Authentischen? Museums – Places of Authenticity?, ed. by Dominik Kimmel and Stefan Brüggerhoff. Heidelberg: Propylaeum: 291-301.

'Collective Listening: Tracing Colonial Sounds in Postcolonial Berlin' by Irene Hilden (2021). In: The Minor on the Move: Doing Cosmopolitanisms, ed. by Kylie Crane, Lucy Gasser, Sara Morais dos Santos Bruss, and Anna von Rath. Münster: edition assemblage: 200-223.

'Confronting Colonialism: The complexities of addressing the past while decolonising museums' by Habiba Insaf (2020). In: The Caravan

'The datafication of nature: data formations and new scales in natural history' by Tahani Nadim (2021). In: JRAI, Vol. 27 (S1), Special Issue: TOWARDS AN ANTHROPOLOGY OF DATA: 62-75.

'Database' by Tahani Nadim (2021) "Database" In: Uncertain Archives. Critical Keywords for Big Data, ed. by Nanna Bonde Thylstrup, Daniela Agostinho, Annie Ring, Catherine D'Ignazio and Kristin Veel. London: The MIT Press.

CARMAH Museum Lab & COMCOL Series

Due to the global pandemic and heightened safety measures, all sessions of this summer semester's CARMAH Museum Lab will be held via Zoom. The sessions are open to practitioners, students, researchers and those working at the intersection of theory and practice. Every other week, invited guests present their ongoing research which inspire fruitful discussions.

Time: 2.15 – 3.45 pm (usually Wednesdays)
Location: Zoom Meeting
Passcode: No code required

April 21st, 2021
The Ocean as Thingspace. From the Ocean as ‘Master of Disappearance’ to the ‘Friendly Floatees’ and a new ocean cosmology.
Presentation by Petra Beck (Centre Marc Bloch Berlin) 

May 5th, 2021
Practicing Heritage in the Context of ‘labash’: The (A)Politics of Heritage in Contemporary Egypt.
Presentation by Katrine Mandrup Bach (Aarhus University, Denmark) 

May 12th, 2021
Vernacular Creativity: On the Familiar and the Familial in Tibetan Student Films.
Presentation by Jenny Chio (University of Southern California, USA) 

June 2th, 2021
On a Postsecular Approach to Museum Analysis.
Presentation by Zuzanna Bogumił (Polish Academy of Sciences)
June 9th, 2021
Kuratieren als Vermitteln: New Museologie in der deutschen Museumspraxis. (in German language) 
This session is part of the discussion series Rethinking Museum Work. Please check again for more information in the next weeks.

June 16th, 2021
Activism and Ethics.
Presentation by Richard Sandell (Leicester University, UK) 

July 7th, 2021
Vermitteln als Kuratieren: New Museology in der deutschen Museumspraxis. (in German language) 
This session is part of the discussion series Rethinking Museum Work. Please check again for more information in the next weeks.

For more information about the Museum Lab please visit our website!

Upcoming Events, Talks, Workshops...

April, 21 – 23, 2021
WTMC PhD Workshop 'Datafying non-humans’, guest lecture by Tahani Nadim

April 22nd, 201
Panel Moderation
'Was bleibt? Ein kritisches Reflexionsgespräch zwischen den lab.Bode Initiator*innen', with Julien Chapuis (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), Heike Kropff (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) and Hortensia Völckers (Kulturstiftung des Bundes), moderated by Miriam Camara (Akoma Coaching and Consulting) and Christine Gerbich (CARMAH).

April 23rd, 2021
Ethnographic Writing Workshop
As a member of the DVPW Working Group 'Political Ethnography' Julia Leser co-organises the workshop 'Thinking and Writing Ethnographically' with guest speaker Prof. Dvora Yanow.

April 27th, 2021
'Colonial collections in Berlin Universities': Session on 'Collective Listening: For a Plurality of Interpretations of and Access to Colonial Sound Archives' with Jasmin Mahazi, Mèhèza Kalibani and Irene Hilden

April 29th, 2021
'L’Europe face à ses héritages coloniaux. Perspectives de Berlin': talk by Margareta von Oswald, followed by a discussion with Ayoko Mensah, organised by the Musée d’Aquitaine and the FRAC Nouvelle-Aquitaine MÉCA, within the framework of the exhibition 'Memoria: récits d’une autre histoire'. 

May 17th – 19th, 2021
Paper presentation
Alice von Bieberstein: 'Waste, copious and plentiful' at the conference 'Heritage out of Control: Inheriting Waste, Spirits and Energies', Max Planck Institute for the Study of Ethnic and Religious Diversity. 

May 18th, 2021
Guest lecture
Tal Adler speaks at the Jerusalem in Middle Eastern Civilizations course, University of Chicago.

May 28th, 2021
Shannon Lee Dawdy (Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory/Things in Theory) in conversation with Alice von Bieberstein on 'Treasure Hunting and Necrospeculation in Turkey.'  

May 31st – June 1st, 2021
Tal Adler gives a talk at the workshop 'Das Wort haben: Konzepte von Zeitzeug*innenschaft in Ausstellungen', Museumsakademie Joanneum, Graz. 

June 19th – 24th, 2021
SIEF2021 15th Congress in Helsinki: 'Breaking the rules? Power, participation and transgression'
Paper Presentation 
Magdalena Buchczyk: 'Creative weaving in Poland and its discontents - between rule-making and rule-breaking'.
'Participation in difficult heritage - whose rules, which community?' with Roma Sendyka (Jagiellonian University), Ulla Savolainen (University of Helsinki), Kirsti Jõesalu (University of Tartu), Benjamina Dadzie (100 Histories of 100 Worlds in 1 Object), Gabriel Moshenska (UCL), chaired by Susannah Eckersley (Newcastle University) and Suzie Thomas (University of Helsinki).

June 26th, 2021
Larissa Förster: 'Sensible Dinge in universitären Sammlungen: Ein Beispiel von postkolonialer Provenienzforschung in Jena' as part of the Ringvorlesung 'Dinge denken. Transdisziplinäre Zugänge zu materieller Kultur' at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena.

July 5th – 9th, 2021
Paper Presentation 

Magdalena Buchczyk and Duane Jethro: 'Monumental Convergences, Empty Pedestals', Memory Studies Association Fifth Annual Conference in Warsaw.  

For more information about past and upcoming events, please visit our website!

Images included in this email have been provided by: Tal Adler, Chiara Garbellotto, Irene Hilden, Angelika Leuchter, Katrine Mandrup Bach, Daniela Schmitter.