The Volkswagen Foundation-funded research project “Sensitive Provenances” investigates the provenance of human remains from (proto-)colonial contexts in two collections at the University of Göttingen. This project aims to investigate the origin of human remains, the circumstances of acquisition, their transfer to academic collections, their use for research and teaching as well as their contemporary socio-political meanings. Alongside research, the project is establishing contacts with representatives of regions from which these human remains originate, discussing their future handling and initiating restitution processes. The project focuses on human remains from Oceania and Africa. The Sensitive Provenances project is interdisciplinary and combines different methodological approaches from historical-critical provenance research, cultural anthropology and biological anthropology and welcomes inquires and applications from potential fellows in these and related fields.
The focus of the project is a) on the “Blumenbach Skull Collection”, which was initiated by the natural scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840) and today comprises about 800 skulls, of which about 200 are of non-European provenance; and b) on the “Anthropological Collection”, originally created in Hamburg’s Museum für Völkerkunde. This collection contains about 1,200 human remains from Oceania and Africa. Our preliminary research suggests that currently the University of Göttingen holds remains from regions that correspond to contemporary: Australia, French Polynesia, Hawaii (USA), Indonesia, Kiribati, Malaysia, Marshall Islands (USA), Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, in Oceania; and from Cameroon, Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, and Tanzania, in Africa.Table of Content
The Volkswagen Foundation is the largest German private nonprofit organization for the promotional of research and education in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. It is not affiliated to the present company, the Volkswagen Group. It was established in 1961 as Stiftung Volkswagenwerk with a portion of the confiscated assets of the Volkswagenwerk GmbH.With a capital of 2.9 billion euros, as of 2016 it is the largest German scientific foundation. Since its founding, it has distributed 4.2 billion Euros in grants for over 30,000 proj... read more
We are seeking to award six short-term fellowships, each lasting from two to three months, for junior researchers from Africa and Oceania who would wish to engage with our project. We are open to all kinds of small-projects that propose new perspectives, expand or challenge what we do. The topic, questions, research methods and interests of the fellows are deliberately kept open in order to facilitate broad perspectives on collections of human remains, their colonial histories and contemporary meanings and treatment. Queries from the fields of History & Archives, Museum Studies, Social & Cultural Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Indigenous Studies, and related areas are welcomed. We also invite proposals for artistic research and interventions that critically engage with the main themes of the project.
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until 01 March 2022. In order to apply, please send documents of application to Dr. Christian Vogel
For more details,visit Volkswagen website