Sovereignties of the Imagination

  • April 2, 2024 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Bard Graduate Center

    38 West 86th Street
    New York, New York 10024
Ticket Price $0.00-$15.00 This event is now over

Sovereignties of the Imagination: Worlding from the Ethnographic Museum

The Iris Foundation Awards Lecture by Wayne Modest (Wereldmuseum Rotterdam)

April 2, 2024 at 6:00 pm 

Bard Graduate Center, 38 West 86th Street, BGC Lecture Hall


This talk by Wayne Modest of the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam takes up some of the more recent explorations of the concept of “worlding” to think about possible futures of the so-called “ethnographic” or “world cultures” museum. For more than three decades now, ethnographic museums—at least those in Europe—have received sustained critique. In its most recent iteration, this critique has congregated around ideas of restitution, repatriation, and more broadly, decolonization. Modest outlines both the main aspects of the critique of ethnographic museums over the last few decades, and museums’ responses to this critique. Despite the challenges associated with ethnographic museums’ roots in colonial history and calls for their closure, he suggests that these museums inhabit an important conjuncture today—precisely because of their histories—and that they hold important material and political potential for imagining a new museum for the future.

Image: Remy Jungerman, Bakru, 2008, mixed media, 118 x 87 x 15 inches (300 X 220 X 38 cm). Collection National Museum of World Cultures. Photo: Aatjan Renders.

Date & Time

Tue, Apr 2, 2024 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Venue Details

Bard Graduate Center

38 West 86th Street
New York, New York 10024 Bard Graduate Center
Bard Graduate Center

Bard Graduate Center is devoted to the study of decorative arts, design history, and material culture through research, advanced degrees, exhibitions, publications, and events.

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