Scholars in Residence

Fall 2016: Ciraj Rassool

Ciraj Rassool, Ph.D is professor of history and director of the African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies at the University of the Western Cape. He was the chairperson of the District Six Museum and council chairperson of Iziko Museums of South Africa, and was also on the councils of the National Heritage Council and the South African Heritage Resources Agency. He is a board member of the South African History Archive, and is also a member of the Human Remains Advisory Committee of the Minister of Arts and Culture, South Africa. He is co-author or co-editor of several books about museums and public culture including Skeletons in the Cupboard: South African Museums and the Trade in Human Remains, 1907-1917 (2000; republished 2015), Recalling Community in Cape Town: Creating and Curating the District Six Museum (2001), Museum Frictions: Public Cultures/Global Transformations (2006) and The Politics of Heritage in Africa: Economies, Histories, and Infrastructures (2015). He was recently a fellow at Morphomata Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Cologne.

Activities

Course:
Changing History, Changing Museums: Contests and Debates from South Africa (History 753)
Graduate Seminar

Public Talk:
Africa at Noon Talk with African Studies Program
Wednesday, September 14 @ 12:00pm, University Club, Room 313

Public Humanites Lecture:
Rehumanising the Dead of Anthropology
Tuesday, September 27 @ 5:30pm, Memorial Library, Room 126

In this talk, Ciraj Rassool considers the history of the illegal export of dead bodies and skeletons from the northern Cape in southern Africa to Vienna in 1908 as well as the events surrounding the return of the remains of Klaas and Trooi Pienaar from the Natural History Museum and their eventual reburial at Kuruman, South Africa in 2012. In thinking about these events, he asks questions about the cultural politics of this process of return and how it might be possible to think about this and other returns of the dead of anthropology as enabling a process of rehumanisation.