Webinar 'Mission-Colonialism Revisited'.

Colonial Looting of Cultural Artefacts: Restitution? Reparation?

On Wednesday, June 12, 2024, 12:30 to 1:45 pm, online
2406 theft of cultural assets Revised

Image: BM Archives

Ritual objects, works of art, plants and animals from all over the world looted during the colonial era are stored in European museums - including in Switzerland. The Basel Mission also collected religious, ethnographic and natural history objects for research and exhibition purposes in its working areas in Africa and Asia. Should non-European cultural objects remain in Western museums today? What does an appropriate restitution practice look like?

Host and concept: Claudia Buess, Head of Educational Events, Mission 21

Event in German with simultaneous translation into English.

Cultural anthropologist Isabella Bosza shows how the Basel Mission brought objects to Basel and how missionary collecting was entangled with colonial and scientific networks. With the cultural scholar Kokou Azamede, we will discuss questions of restitution and the challenges of dealing appropriately with non-European cultural artefacts in Western museums.

isabella bozsa portrait four to three high

Isabella Bozsa is a provenance researcher at the Museum der Kulturen Basel and a doctoral candidate at the Chair of African History at Leibniz University Hanover. She researched the history of the Basel Mission's collection from Cameroon and India and worked at the Städtisches Museum Braunschweig and in Cameroon as part of a project on provenance research into non-European collections. She studied Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology, Tibetology and Religious Studies at the Georg August University in Göttingen.


Dr. Kokou Azamede teaches at the German Department of the University of Lomé in Togo. He received his doctorate from the University of Bremen in 2008. His research focuses on transcultural studies, German missions and German colonialism as well as German colonial photography from West Africa. He is currently researching human "remains" and colonial objects as well as missionary collections from German Togo in German museums, and the question of colonial heritage. He is the winner of the Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm Prize 2022 of the German Academic Exchange Service.

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Protestant Mission Basel

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