The ideation of restitution seemingly promises fundamental changes on the morphological scapes of politics & global mobility of ideas & people, Is it a convenient political ploy…? or a recognition of the extraordinary levels of historical violence, cultural & ecological harm…?
Emmanuel Macron’s promise of “temporary or definitive restitution of African cultural heritage to Africa” in November 2017 and its media circulation worldwide has given the question of colonial violence and lootings an unpreceded status. We are now experiencing culturally meaningful techniques of resistance for and against restitution all at once. Although the promise speaks to the changes in the landscape of politics and global mobility of ideas and people across all kinds of borders – gender, racial, national, political, personal, religious and so forth. It seems that the promise of restitution is a more convenient way of doing global politics rather than recognizing historical violence and cultural and ecological harm.
What could we learn from examining the recent politics of restitution of African “objects,” that is becoming more and more a public concern? What could we learn from those individuals who insist on the return of these “objects” and thus aim to achieve normative change; others who insist on circulation; and still others who insist on the preservation of these “objects” independent of place?
Brief Bios of Discussion Panelists:
Nora Al-Badri is a multi-disciplinary media artist with a German-Iraqi background. She graduated in political sciences at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main, and lives and works in Berlin. Her most provocative artistic work, with Jan Nikolai Nelles, on Nefertiti has traveled worldwide.
Dr. Moradi’s anthropological inquiries are located in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, covering areas such as modernity’ infrastructures of genocidal violence and evidence, museum and memory, algorithm, global satellites and drones, and translation and hospitality. He is currently researching The Colonial Spectacles and the eruption of the politics of restitution of African artworks. Moradi is member of the Law, Organization, Science and Technology Research Network, and a recent member of Sci-Tech Asia in Hong Kong. He has taught and will be giving a course, Decoloniality and Anthropology, at the Institute of Social and Culture Anthropology, University of Halle-Wittenberg (summer semester 2019).