ZAM Reporter

Online Book | More than just an object

Photo: Postcard from German South-West Africa, ca. 1905. Photographer unknown.

A fascinating study into the return of twenty skulls from Berlin to Namibia is now available online

In September 2011, twenty Namibian skulls were repatriated from the collection of the Charité University Hospital in Berlin to Namibia. Not everything went smoothly. The Charité was criticized for failing to answer questions about the identity of the remains, and the Namibian government and Nama and Herero representatives failed to agree on their final resting place. In her book and thesis More than just an object Leonor Faber-Jonker, runner up of the Africa Thesis Award 2016 of the African Studies Centre Leiden Africa (ASCL), analyses how these human remains – remains of individuals – became war trophies, anthropological specimens, and, finally, evidence, symbols, and relics. She does this by examining how, by whom, why, and in what context the skulls were physically handled in the practices of collecting (1904-1910), studying (1910-1924), and repatriating (2011).

You can download and read this ASCL publication online for free here.