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Museums, material culture and universities. Reflections on the parallelism and contemporaneity of GDR/FRG social anthropologies in view of a positioning with future prospects


Flitsch, Mareile; Noack, Karoline (2021). Museums, material culture and universities. Reflections on the parallelism and contemporaneity of GDR/FRG social anthropologies in view of a positioning with future prospects. .

Abstract

More than 30 years after the “Wende” (the “Turning point”) in 1989, a review of the social anthropology and ethnographic museums of the GDR and FRG as parallel, contemporaneous, closely entangled and yet equally “system competing” disciplines and research groups is long overdue. For, after the “post-Wende era” – as a still rather blurred transition period of relative curiosity about each other and emerging opportunities – the current acute ignorance about the GDR is all too obvious. It has resulted in a new sovereignty of interpretation about the discipline having become commonplace, one which knows very little about the institutions, publications and achievements, and which ignores time witnesses. Cold War figures of speech of times about “the East” are reproduced without thought, whereas archival research, knowledge about the GDR and FRG’s scientific landscapes, of the science policies and the actors at institutes and museums, and therewith competences of understanding publications and exhibitions and the remaining academic potentials, would shed new light on social anthropology’s theory and research lines. By using the counterfactual question of which social anthropologies could have encountered each other in 1989, the authors undertake a positioning of the ethnographic institutes and museums in their contemporaneous parallelisms, which acknowledges today’s simultaneity of disciplinary and museum competences, and which keeps it visible for future researchers, as well as for projects and debates today.

Abstract

More than 30 years after the “Wende” (the “Turning point”) in 1989, a review of the social anthropology and ethnographic museums of the GDR and FRG as parallel, contemporaneous, closely entangled and yet equally “system competing” disciplines and research groups is long overdue. For, after the “post-Wende era” – as a still rather blurred transition period of relative curiosity about each other and emerging opportunities – the current acute ignorance about the GDR is all too obvious. It has resulted in a new sovereignty of interpretation about the discipline having become commonplace, one which knows very little about the institutions, publications and achievements, and which ignores time witnesses. Cold War figures of speech of times about “the East” are reproduced without thought, whereas archival research, knowledge about the GDR and FRG’s scientific landscapes, of the science policies and the actors at institutes and museums, and therewith competences of understanding publications and exhibitions and the remaining academic potentials, would shed new light on social anthropology’s theory and research lines. By using the counterfactual question of which social anthropologies could have encountered each other in 1989, the authors undertake a positioning of the ethnographic institutes and museums in their contemporaneous parallelisms, which acknowledges today’s simultaneity of disciplinary and museum competences, and which keeps it visible for future researchers, as well as for projects and debates today.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Scientific Publication in Electronic Form
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:German Democratic Republic, East Germany, GDR, anthropology, ethnography, Wende, 1989, Federal Republic of Germany, West Germany
Language:English
Date:7 June 2021
Deposited On:22 Jul 2021 13:47
Last Modified:22 Jul 2021 13:48
Series Name:Boasblog DCNtR
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:https://boasblogs.org/dcntr/museums-material-culture-and-universities/

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