Interdisciplinary Fellow Group on The 4Rs in Africa: Reality or Transcultural Aphasia? (IFG 5)


MIASA's fifth Interdisciplinary Fellow Group (IFG 5) addresses matters of restitution of looted cultural objects in an interdisciplinary approach by interrogating the four 'Rs' - restitution, return, repatriation and reparation - as they apply to the African contexts and their cultural objects held in Western Museums.

The debate about "restitution of cultural objects" ties into the relation of African countries vis-à-vis their former colonial powers and the West in general. As African intellectuals have noted, both the historical but more so the present relations should be recalibrated. The fellow group thus addresses fundamental asymmetries in the international relation between European and African nations.

One of the group's common focus is on the colonial encounter between Germany and the former Western Togoland - a region that lost significant cultural objects during German colonial encounters that can now be found in the German museums. A field trip to Kpando in the Volta Region in September set the grounds for a case study on a particular restitution claim to Germany.