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Provenance and Repatriation: Challenges and Potentials

The project “Provenance and Repatriation: Challenges and Potentials” led by Principal Investigator PD Dr. Carsten Wergin examines the restitution of artefacts and repatriation of human remains as transcultural processes of connectivity and healing. Hosted at the Professorship of Visual and Media Anthropology at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS), it approaches provenance and repatriation as inherently transdisciplinary and transcultural themes that raise cultural, socio-political and juridical problems. The project will draw on the expertise of members of both the University’s Field of Focus 3 and Field of Focus 4 to examine those. Case studies include the repatriation of human remains and restitution of cultural artefacts from Germany to Australia (see the article in the Sydney Morning Herald). The question to be addressed is on what hopes and conflicts attach to these repatriations and to what extend they can contribute to the emergence of a newly “shared heritage”. What are their potentials both for Indigenous groups but also ethnographic collections who redefine their colonial possessions to initiate new processes of transcultural exchange?


PD Dr. Carsten Wergin
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Faculty of Behavioural and Cultural Studies

PD Dr. Carsten Wergin