ANN: Book Launch 'The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution'

MARIA Elena INDELICATO's picture

We are honoured to announce the launch of Dan Hicks' The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution. Hosted by the University of Coimbra, Centre for Social Studies, the event will take place on the Zoom platform and last for one hour and half. The book will be launched by Delinda Collier (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), Maria Paula Meneses (University of Coimbra- CES), Elísio Macamo (University of Basel) and contextualised in relation to the Portuguese empire in Africa.

See the event blurb and further details below:

Walk into any European museum today and you will see the curated spoils of empire. They sit behind plate glass: dignified, tastefully lit. Accompanying pieces of card offer a name, date, and place of origin. They do not mention that the objects are all stolen. Few artefacts embody this history of rapacious and extractive colonialism better than the Benin Bronzes - a collection of thousands of brass plaques and carved ivory tusks depicting the history of the Royal Court of the Obas of Benin City, Nigeria. Pillaged during a British naval attack in 1897, the loot was passed on to Queen Victoria, the British Museum and countless privare collections. The story of the Benin Bronzes sits at the heart of a heated debate about cultural restitution, repatriation and the decolonisation of museums. Dan Hicks makes a powerful case for the urgent return of such objects, as part of a wider project of addressing the outstanding debt of colonialism.

Speakers: Delinda Collier (School of the Art Institute of Chicago), Maria Paula Meneses ( University of Coimbra- CES), Elísio Macamo (University of Basel).

Author: Dan Hicks (University of Oxford)

Chair: Ana Cristina Pereira ( University of Coimbra- CES).

Bio notes

Delinda Collier is an Associate Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism Department and is Interim Dean of Graduate Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the author of Repainting the Walls of Lunda: Information Colonialism and Angolan Art (2016), and Media Primitivism: Technological Art in Africa (2020).

Dan Hicks is Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford, Curator of World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum and a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. He was Visiting Professor at the musée du quai Branly in 2017-18, and was awarded the Rivers Medal of the Royal Anthropological Society in 2017. Dan’s new book, The Brutish Museums: the Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution was listed as one of the New York Times Best Art Books of 2020, with the recommendation: “If you care about museums and the world, read this book”.  Twitter: @ProfDanHicks 

Elísio Macamo is Professor of African Studies and Sociology at the University of Basel (since October 2009), and a Research Fellow at the Centro de Estudos Internacionais – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (CEI-IUL), Portugal. Previously, he taught development sociology at the University of Bayreuth, where he was a founding member of the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies. He holds an MA degree in Translation and Interpreting (Salford), a MA degree in Sociology (University of North London), as well as a PhD and a Habilitation in General Sociology and Development Sociology (University of Bayreuth). He was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Bayreuth, AGORA-Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin and a visiting lecturer at Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique.

Maria Paula Meneses is a Principal researcher at the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra. A Mozambican scholar, she did her graduate studies in Russia (MA in History from St. Petersburg University) and obtained her PhD in the USA, by Rutgers University. In 2009 she was a visiting scholar at EHSS, Paris. Currently she is the Vice-President for Scientific activities at CES. Her research focus on the political history and socio-legal complexity of southern Africa, especially in Mozambique, Angola and South Africa.

Ana Cristina Pereira obtained her PhD in Cultural Studies and the University of Minho Currently she is a research team member of ‘(De)Othering Deconstructing Risk and Otherness: hegemonic scripts and counter-narratives on migrants/refugees and “internal Others” in Portuguese and European mediascapes’and ‘Memories, Cultures and Identities: how the Past Weights on the Present-Day Intercultural Relations in Mozambique and Portugal?’ at UC-CES and UM-CECS respectively. She is also a member of SOPCOM and, as such, runs the WG Visual Culture and journal Vista.

This event is organised by Maria Elena Indelicato (University of Coimbra - CES) and João Figueiredo (Nova University – CEDIS), in collaboration with the Inter-Thematic Group on Migrations (ITM) and (De)Othering (FCT)

Activity within the research projects «(De)Othering | Deconstructing Risk and Otherness: hegemonic scripts and counter-narratives on migrants/refugees and 'internal Others' in Portuguese and European mediascapes» (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-029997), and «A Colonial History of Anti-Racism in Education: Anthropology, Race Displacement and Knowledge Transliteration» (CEECIND/03945/2018/CP1549/CT00).


This activity will be provided through Zoom platform and doesn’t require registration. It’s limited to the number of places available.
ID: 891 7137 5331 | Password: 778168

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Contact Info: 

Maria Elena Indelicato

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