In Their Presence: De-Colonized ‘Objects’

In the 2020-2021 academic year, with the support of a Tufts Collaborates Seed Grant Program/Tufts SpringboardThe Diversity Fund, and the World Peace Foundation, the Tisch College’s Director of Public Humanities, Diane O’Donoghue, and WPF’s Research Director, Bridget Conley, have organized a series of five panels over the academic year that brings together leading international voices in areas of forensic ethics to address the materiality of post-life. 

Session One, De-Colonized ‘Objects,’ took place on October 29th, and included presentations by Ciraj Rassool, Professor of History at the University of the Western Cape and director of the African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies, and Vernelda Grant, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer of the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona. Rassool’s presentation was “Rehumanising the Dead of Anthropology: Museums and Society after Colonialism,” and Grant’s was “On Cultural Heritage and Museum Objects.”

Diane O’Donoghue and Bridget Conley host presentations and a discussion with Ciraj Rassool and Vernelda Grant about the how colonial treatment of human remains and other sacred ‘objects’ imposed a worldview upon people and over societies that continues to be challenged in on-going efforts to reclaim autonomy over museum ‘objects.’

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