Into Africa: Reporting on the Return of Other Peoples’ Things (11/28/22)

The debate over Africa’s lost cultural heritage is transforming. It’s no longer merely a question of whether certain African artifacts should be returned. Some question whether North American and European museums should be allowed to display them at all. Why do westerners still decide which African objects are worthy of being exhibited for the world to see? Why are Europeans still the curators of other peoples’ cultures? What right do western museumgoers have to gawk and gaze at these “exotic” objects the same way they have for hundreds of years? To decolonize the museum may require more than putting a few pieces back in their original place. If restitution advocates have their way, we could be nearing the end of an era in which western museums served as humble custodians of other peoples’ things. International journalist, Jacob Kushner (Journalism, LACIS ’10), will discuss his latest reporting for National Geographic and Tortoise from Kenya and Germany and lead us in a lively debate.