Against the Humboldt-Forum

14. November 2009 / Eingestellt von thw um 10:30 /

Diesmal in Englisch:

Against the Humboldt-Forum and its restaurative politics of the past!

Françoise Vergès on the Museum of the Present
in La Réunion as a postcolonial perspective

Presentation and Debate
Tuesday, November 24, 2009, 7 p.m.
Hausvoigteiplatz 5-7, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hörsaal 0109
Organised by artefakte/Alexandertechnik

After years of debate, the government coalition recently confirmed that the historic Berliner Schloss will be rebuilt on the demolished grounds of the Palast der Republik.
As an architectural and urban development project, as well as the home for the planned Humboldt-Forum – Germany’s latest expression of reverence for the erudite Humboldt brothers and its version of the universal museum – we consider the project to be highly problematic. The entanglement of these two backward projects repre-sents the apotheosis of restorative historical policies and they are both grounded in an under-problematized relationship to imperial and colonial histories. We want to confront these undertakings this event grounded in a postcolonial perspective that will formulate our critiques for the German and wider European context.

To this aim, we have invited Françoise Vergès, a lecturer at Goldsmith College at the University of London and political scientist, postcolonial theorist and distin-guished chair of the committee for the memory of slavery in France. Vergès has worked for many years on questions of memory politics and their relationship to historical violence and crimes and has proved herself to be a severe critic of national (istic) memory politics that ignore critical questions of exclusion, dominant perspec-tives and who has the right to speak. Currently, she is co-developing in La Réunion, a French “départements” in the Indian Ocean, to develop a “museum of the present” that reflects the unique history of the island, as a colonial transit-area and settlement place.

Françoise Vergès will speak about this museum-in-progress, which shall neither reify history nor tell narratives of origin, but create a place for the struggles and controversies of contemporary society. Is such a museum able to overcome the logic of national representation? What does it mean to appropriate the concept of the museum in this context? How can one build a museum that challenges conventional hierarchies between visitors and display?

The working group artefakte is part of Alexandertechnik (, a Network of social activists, artists and academics, who reject the reconstruction of the castle as much as the current concept of the Humboldt-Forum.

The event will be held in English.

Supported by Stiftung Umverteilen! und Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung

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