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Sensing through white gloves. On Congolese objects in Swedish Collections
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
2009 (English)In: The Senses & Society, ISSN 1745-8927, Vol. 04, no 01, 75-97 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article discusses collectibles acquired by Swedish missionaries and military officers active within the ill-reputed Congo Free State (1885-1908). Objects are approached here not primarily as tokens of Congolese material culture but as traces of a transnational cultural history and as points of entry to a cricial museology. drawing on case studies of collections I discuss the ways in which artifacts have been selected, joined and charged with new functions and meaning on their voyage between hands narratives and genres. In focus are five examples of objects that, analytically, have worked as what Roland Barthes (1980) calls punctum: the detail that distrubs and fascinates by force of seeming ungrammatical in relation to the larger context of which it forms part. By adding material to the Barthian concept I want to stress that such analytical imuplses may be evoked by all senses. During an inventory of Swedish Congolese collections, when the historical state of stored museum items as untouchables could temporarily bwe broken, their multisensory material presences proved able to challenge textual discourses, serve as alternative witnesses and demonstrate hidden significances of ethnographical museums and collections.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Berg Publishers , 2009. Vol. 04, no 01, 75-97 p.
Keyword [en]
museisamlingar Kongostaten materiella punctum beröringstabu
National Category
Cultural Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-32295ISI: 000284683500004OAI: diva2:279983
Available from: 2009-12-07 Created: 2009-12-07 Last updated: 2011-12-22Bibliographically approved

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Gustafsson Reinius, Lotten
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