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Faculty Publication: Director of Museum Studies Monique Scott

April 1, 2024

Excavating Whiteness in the African Archive: The Story of Amandus Johnson's 1920s Expedition to Angola for the Penn Museum

Author: Monique Scott

Source: Museum Anthropology, DOI: 10.1111/muan.12285, March 2024

Type of Publication: Journal Article

Abstract: As we further seek to “decolonize” museum images of Africa, the museum archives of African Collections—the correspondence, ledgers, diaries, photographs, and other documents of White explorers working in Africa—suture the colonial practices that produced ways of seeing Africa—and Blackness more broadly—back onto the objects that museums maintain and display today. As increasing scholarly attention seeks to rectify the anti-Black colonial violence of the archive, this research aims to situate the pedestrian colonial ethnographic practices and spectacular African explorer mythmaking found in museum archives within the foundation of museum anthropology and the museum itself. It also looks to the possibilities of contemporary museum practice to reframe and repair colonial museum constructions of Africa.

Monique Scott is an associate professor of history of art and director of museum studies. 

History of Art

Museum Studies