Conference: Asia and Africa in Transition

NEW DATES: 28-30 June 2021

Panel: Local expressions of global ideas: Negotiating modernity, aesthetics and cultural heritage in African and Asian museums

Conveners: Jens Sejrup, Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies and Vibe Nielsen, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen

This panel explores local and continental negotiations of ideas originating from Europe in museums, art, and architecture in Africa and Asia. Through empirical examples, we investigate how ideas such as modernity, universality, aesthetics and heritage are negotiated locally: how are concepts reclaimed and re-contextualised in African and Asian contexts? We seek to debate attempts to “Africanise” or “Asianise” ideas that were once Euro-American and have now become global (Herzfeld 2004). The panel examines how local and continental identities are created, postulated, or claimed through engagement with concepts adopted from Euro-America. Such negotiations are explored within the context of museums, cultural institutions and other places associated with public display and aesthetic contemplation, where concepts linked to cultural identity and belonging, history, memory and representation, as well as art, modernity and cultural heritage find material, spatial, and discursive expression. Questions relevant to this panel could be, for example, what categories and notions surface in efforts to decolonise public space in South Africa? What is the role of the global in processes of authorization of Chinese art in China? What are the dynamics between ideas of modernity and universality in Japanese museums of Western art? The panel conveners encourage paper submissions from researchers working with interactions and linkages between Africa and Asia, in order to illustrate shared experiences and initiatives between the two continents. In addition, we also welcome papers focused on country-or region-specific phenomena or developments in either Africa or Asia relevant to museology, cultural studies, architecture, and the anthropology of art.