SEMINAR OF MARCH 2nd, 2016
THINGS IN THE MUSEUM
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Ancestors returned from the Past.
The Case of Māori Heads
Editorial Director: Laurence Bertrand Dorléac
Editorial Staff: Carole Giry
Translator: David Ames Curtis
An ethnologist and anthropologist, Mélanie Roustan has investigated the hold objects have over people (her book was published in 2007). She offers us a thorough analysis of things that were sacred for reasons that differ greatly from what, once they have entered museums, defines them for us. The case of eighteenth-century tattooed and mummified Maori heads allows us to grasp how impossible it is to take them as mere objects. Repatriated to New Zealand after a January 2012 ceremony, these heads have finally regained their original function while leaving behind them lasting traces that oblige us to reflect politically on the matter.