Science And Power Politics: Imagining The Postcolonial Museum

Visitors look at wooden royal statues of the Dahomey kingdom, dated 19th century, today's Benin, at the Quai Branly museum in Paris, France, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. From Senegal to Ethiopia, artists, governments and museums are eagerly awaiting a report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron on how former colonizers can return African art to Africa.
Visitors look at wooden royal statues of the Dahomey kingdom, dated 19th century, today's Benin, at the Quai Branly museum in Paris, France, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. From Senegal to Ethiopia, artists, governments and museums are eagerly awaiting a report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron on how former colonizers can return African art to Africa. Michel Euler / AP Photo
Visitors look at wooden royal statues of the Dahomey kingdom, dated 19th century, today's Benin, at the Quai Branly museum in Paris, France, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. From Senegal to Ethiopia, artists, governments and museums are eagerly awaiting a report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron on how former colonizers can return African art to Africa.
Visitors look at wooden royal statues of the Dahomey kingdom, dated 19th century, today's Benin, at the Quai Branly museum in Paris, France, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. From Senegal to Ethiopia, artists, governments and museums are eagerly awaiting a report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron on how former colonizers can return African art to Africa. Michel Euler / AP Photo

Science And Power Politics: Imagining The Postcolonial Museum

Those who hold scientific truth have the power to change societies. Many times in the past, that scientific knowledge has been used to manipulate or marginalize. This week Worldview is hosting a series on the intersection of science and power politics. Today’s conversation focuses on the way museums organize knowledge. Natural history museums, in particular, have developed systems of categorization that mirror systems of colonial administration. Historian Ciraj Rassool argues that this is done by taking historical objects, imagining stories around them, then placing them into displays contextualized by social settings that appear frozen in time. Rassool runs the African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa.