Race, Empire, and the Erasure of African Identities in Harvard’s “National Skulls”
Thursday January 17, 2019, 5:15pm-7:30pm
Christopher Willoughby, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Comment: Evelynn Hammonds, Harvard University
In 1847, John Collins Warren gave his anatomical collection to the Harvard medical school, including a collection of “national skulls.” This paper analyzes how skulls from the black Atlantic were collected and dubbed “African,” to show that medical schools were intimately connected to the violence of slavery and empire, and to posit a method for writing the history of racist museum exhibitions that does not continue the silencing of black voices at the heart of those exhibitions.
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