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Ethnological Museums: "The Museum as Maloca? A Cooperation Project with Indigenous Partners"

Michael Kraus presents a project between indigenous and scientific partners: in 2014, several anthropologists from Germany have invited four guests from Mitú to the ethnological museum in Berlin. The meeting consisted of two parts: a closed workshop and a public conference. The objects from the museums collections were taken in a time, when the relation between the indigenous society and the colonialist was not peaceful. In his talk, Kraus describes the meeting’s impact on both sides and how the indigenous guests structured it according to their cultural traditions.

Michael Kraus is lecturer at the Department for the Anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn. He studied ethnology, comparative religious studies and sociology at the universities of Tübingen, Guadalajara and Marburg. In 2004, he received his PhD in ethnology for his work “Bildungsbürger im Urwald. Die deutsche ethnologische Amazonienforschung (1884-1929)”. As a research assistant, he worked at the University of Marburg and the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin. He has also curated exhibitions for various museums (e.g. “Novos Mundos - Neue Welten. Portugal und das Zeitalter der Entdeckungen” at Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, 2007 and “WeltWissen. 300 Jahre Wissenschaften in Berlin” at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, 2010). He has carried out ethnographic fieldwork among the Guaraní (Gran Chaco, Bolivia) and Tukano (Upper Rio Negro, Brazil/Colombia). His research focusses on indigenous Cultures of Amazonia, Visual Anthropology, the History of Anthropology, Museum Studies and Curatorial Practices, and Material Culture Studies.

Photo: Philip Bartz for Volkswagen Foundation

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