Multiple and mobile: mapping the repatriation archive

Morton, S (2018) Multiple and mobile: mapping the repatriation archive. In: Digital Dilemma, 6 October 2018, University College London, UK.

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The repatriation of ancestral human remains is a process that both creates and facilitates the duplication and movement of digital information, yet the continued meanings, use and management of this data, once the physical remains it relates to are absent, has received little attention within the wider repatriation debates. Using research into the repatriations from the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) as a case study, this paper will examine the mechanisms by which information about ancestral human remains is made multiple and mobile and how digital technologies are transforming the meanings of repatriation archives. What emerges is that the digital documentation is more than a trace through which the absent remains are made present. It has its own agency and mobility that is interwoven with, and yet distinct from, the physical remains it relates to. However, although the recognition the RCS archive contains information that can be considered as Indigenous knowledge foregrounds its meaning and potential, it also raises difficult questions around who is legitimate, who are the authorised and alternative voices and who get to makes those decisions. Therefore, if we are to fully understand the digital legacies of the repatriation process and the role of the museum in the stewardship of this material, how digital information is created, curated, disturbed, displayed and circulated should be considered as part of the ongoing discussions and reviews of human remains and repatriation policies.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Date Deposited: 13 May 2019 10:59
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:52
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