The Brutish Museums: Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution

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Join us for a lecture with Dan Hicks, Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford.


Oct 23, 2021 10:00am – 11:00am

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Dan Hicks FSA, MCIfA is the Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford, Curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum, and a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. Dan works on the material and visual culture of the human past, up to and including the modern, colonial, contemporary and digital world, and on the history of Archaeology, Anthropology Art, and Architecture.

His recent book, The Brutish Museums is a powerful call for western museums to return the objects looted in the violent days of empire, during "world war zero." His call is simple: return everything. This has a dual function: first, it would be the beginning of a process of cultural restitution to countries that were once colonies from their former colonial oppressors. As these materials were returned to the museums in the countries where they were created and from where they were stolen, they would allow these nations to celebrate and interrogate their own cultural heritage. But it would also force the British to come to terms with their own colonial past – which is not a past, really, but a present that sits behind glass (The Guardian, 2020).

Dan’s voice is powerful, current, and brave. He challenges the colonial structures of his own British heritage, opening space for decolonizing the many-times problematic western museums and their “stolen” collections.

This talk will be taking place over Zoom:
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Meeting ID: 620 4060 1359
Passcode: 011758