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German-Australian Research on a Difficult Legacy: Colonial Collections of Indigenous Human Remains in German Museums and Collections

Turnbull, P ORCID: 0000-0002-7101-1538 2018 , 'German-Australian Research on a Difficult Legacy: Colonial Collections of Indigenous Human Remains in German Museums and Collections', in B Nickl and I Herrschner and EM Go and #378 and dziak (eds.), German-Australian Encounters and Cultural Transfers: Global Dynamics in Transnational Lands , Springer Singapore, Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd., pp. 179-191.

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In recent years, curators of German ethnological and university anatomical museums have begunattempting to resolve the ethical and practical challenges arising from their possession of human remainsof Indigenous peoples collected in spheres of colonial ambition during the long nineteenth century. Effortsto assess whether past injustices warrant the return of these remains to their country of origin for reburialhas been prompted by Indigenous communities with ancestral ties to these relics requesting theirrepatriation. In the German context, the largest collections of remains are those of the Indigenous peoplesof present day Namibia. However, a number of museums have also found themselves encountering repatriation requests from Indigenous Australian communities. This chapter looksat how the German museum world’s efforts to resolve this difficult legacy has led to collaboration betweenleading German and Australian museum personnel and scholars with expertise in the history of colonial eracollecting of human remains and their repatriation. As the chapter explains, to date this collaboration haslargely focused on critically assessing guidelines recommended by the Deutscher Museumsbund , orGerman Museums Association in late 2003 to its member institutions. Working together, German andAustralian experts have drawn attention to how these guidelines—which reflect the experience of Germanmuseums dealing with human remains acquired during the  Nazi era—have their strengths, but stillproblematically reflect Eurocentric assumptions about the nature of death, and the relations of the dead tothe living.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Turnbull, P
Keywords: Repatriation Indigenous human remains
Publisher: Springer Singapore
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/978-981-10-6599-6
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Copyright 2018 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

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