NIAS Symposium

Contested Objects: The Racial and Colonial Dimensions of Material Culture

20 April 2022 from 12:00 to 17:00 hrs
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What are contested objects, why are they contested and when did they become so? This year’s NIAS Symposium explores the racial and colonial dimensions of our shared material culture.

Why, when and how becomes an object contested? From neighborhoods to monuments, from statues to household appliances. For a number of years there’s been is a particular attendance for racial and colonial dimension of our material culture. Some traces have been around for years, others have a more recent history. Increasingly, people have become outspoken about the need to become aware of the different ways to consider not just our past but also those objects that reminds us of it. What happens if we look beyond museums and archives and also take into account other ‘things’ like architecture, monuments, photography, food and interior design?

During the NIAS Symposium we will collectively explore what insights we can gain by shedding light on the racial and colonial dimensions of our material culture. When do objects start to live their own life? Even though the context of an object defines most of its meaning, the context itself can change too. And so we wonder: When and why do objects become contested? Which objects can connect but also lead to contestation? And how come? Can the materiality of an object pose constraints to what we can read in an object?

You are invited to join along this year’s NIAS Symposium, a one-day symposium with workshops and discussions. Together we’ll explore the power of ‘things’ and what happens when you bring the process of investigation and intellectual exchange into practice.

Program and more information

Read more about this symposium, the program and how to register via the NIAS-website.

Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS)

The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS-KNAW) is an Academy research institute. It stimulates advanced research in the humanities and social sciences, international knowledge-sharing and research cooperation. NIAS offers talented researchers the opportunity to work on new insights in interdisciplinary and international teams, set up new partnerships, or seek solutions for the problems of society.

The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS-KNAW) is located in Amsterdam (Korte Spinhuissteeg 3, 1012 CG Amsterdam).


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