Core projects

Doing provenance research: Towards the decolonization of ethnographic museums?

An ethnographic study of researchers, institutions and post-colonial contexts

In recent years, questions of how ethnographic museums obtained their collections have received widespread attention. As one of the...

This series of short films explores the multi-faceted nature of niu: from its origins to its many different kinds of uses and abuses in the present and into the future. The intention is to shed light on a tree that is referred to by many island people as the “tree of life”.

Māori Rapanui: Polynesians in a Latin American state

Imagining a decolonial future for the 21st century and beyond

Since the 19th century, the Native inhabitants of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) have been part of an interconnected world. After colonial confinement by Chile, they acquired citizenship and, in 1993...

Since Europeans registered Rapa Nui in their navigation charts, under the name of Easter Island, it has become a place of scientific investigation and ethnographic collecting. During the 19th century, this island also turned into a place of economic exploitation: Many inhabitants were deported to Peru as slaves, and later transported...

Contemporary Sāmoa is an anomaly in the sense that it is separated into the independent state of Sāmoa and the un­incorporated U.S. territory of American Sāmoa. At first sight, then, there exist two Sāmoas. Yet, both political entities have grown out of and continue to be organized through the relations between multiple islands...

Island gigantism is understood as a biological process through which the size of an animal species isolated on an island increases drastically in comparison to its mainland relatives. Insular dwarfism is the opposite process of large animals evolving a decreased body size when their population is limited to a small environment...

Affiliated projects

Museum futures

Material cultures of ethnography and natural history as archives of environmental knowledge

This “LMU Cambridge Strategic Partnership” project addresses material cultures of natural history and ethnography, focussed on collections in Germany and the UK, and considers the co-constitution of natural and anthropological collections.

This CAS research focus studies and experimentally enacts the relationship between materiality, museo­logy and know­ledge. Museums were constitutive of academic disciplines that engage with different kinds of materiality, such as anthropology, archaeo­logy, art history and natural history. Yet, with the development...

PhD projects

Collaborative conservation practice: Wishful thinking or viable method?

A comparative study at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and the Museum am Rothenbaum – Kulturen und Künste der Welt (MARKK)

This PhD project will address conservation’s contributions to the opening up of museum practices to Indigenous approaches, and to the decolonization of museology in Germany and beyond.

Studying “repositioning”

From the Museum für Völkerkunde to the MARKK (1990–2020)

This PhD project studies the repositioning of the former Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg to the Museum am Rothenbaum – Kulturen und Künste der Welt (MARKK) from 1990 to the present in order to analyse the changing institutional frameworks, debates and challenges that affect the present and future of the MARKK and ethnographic museums in general.