While collecting in colonial contexts is mostly associated with plunder, genocide or at least structural violence, provenance studies seldom consider the full implications of collecting as a jurispathic or ‘law-killing’ act (Robert Cover, 2007). However, colonial actors erased local laws and norms either by opposing or neglecting them. This was often followed by the codification of shifting normative understandings, the ‘invention of traditions’, and the segregationist ‘tribing’ of African polities. This created knowledge formations that are still being perpetuated today because, due to a perceived lack of historic sources, we rarely consider the normative understanding and legal imagination of colonized societies in restitution debates.
This panel focuses on indigenous normative knowledge and the role it could play for restitution debates – arguing with Mahmood Mamdani that “if the production of the past is the stuff of history writing, the securing of a future is the domain of law making” (2012: 46). Therefore, we invite contributions that: a) Consider indigenous normative knowledge and legal frameworks at the time of acquisition to understand the provenance of an object; b) situate the act of collecting in the colonial (legal) knowledge system and trace the present of this past in current debates; c) focus on how indigenous knowledge is addressed in legal restitution efforts, such as new codifications, ‘soft laws’, and norms and regulations at the national and international level; d) strategies to deal in provenance research with knowledge gaps resulting from a absent historical sources or the ‘imperial eye’ of the archive.
For submissions, please use the following link: https://nomadit.co.uk/conference/ecas2023/p/12381
For questions, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Beyond Colonial Plunder and Postcolonial Restitution: A Legal Pluralist Approach.
In: H-Soz-Kult, 18.12.2022, <www.hsozkult.de/event/id/event-132600>.