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Call for submissions: symposium ‘Changing Approaches Towards Restitution and Return of Colonial Heritage’

4 March 2024

On 23 and 24 May 2024, the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies and the Research Group “Museums, Collections and Society” will hold an interdisciplinary symposium on ‘Changing Approaches Towards Restitution and Return of Colonial Heritage’.

One of the shortcomings of existing approaches is that contemporary practices remain largely centered on national/domestic perspectives, while paying limited attention to the broader transnational dimensions of restitution policies. The purpose of the meeting is to look beyond individual country approaches and ethical policies to explore what comparative lessons can be learned from different contexts regarding the treatment of cultural objects and/or human remains. We seek to focus on a number of themes, namely:

  • Decolonial approaches towards ownership and ontologies of objects;
  • Fresh engagement with semantics and epistemic frames;
  • Processes of re-connecting objects;
  • Experiences with digitization;
  • New forms of collaboration between museums and heritage communities.

We invite submissions for presentations on these themes, including regional practices, changing legal and ethical frames, experiences with specific return processes and/or individual object/subject studies.

The symposium is open to submissions from all disciplines and geographical backgrounds. Scholars from the Global South are particularly encouraged to submit and apply for the conference. The costs for travel and accommodation of selected participants will be covered by the organizers.

Submit your proposal

The working language of the symposium will be English. Submissions should include an abstract of no more than 300 words and a brief bio. The deadline for submissions is 31 March 2024. Submissions will be considered on a rolling basis. Accepted submissions may be considered for publication.  Please send your proposals by email to: c.stahn@law.leidenuniv.nl and p.j.ter.keurs@hum.leidenuniv.nl

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