Global History and Culture Centre Blog
Why Are We Not Reading More Histories on Italian Imperialism and Museum Collections?
PhD student Fleur Martin discusses the challenges of researching and writing histories of Italian imperialism and museum collections. Through the figure of the Italian imperial explorer Vittorio Bottego (1860–97), Martin explores issues of training, historiography, support, and memory. In doing so, Martin reflects on the meaning of 'decolonisation' in the context of Italian museum collections.
The James Collection: Connecting Sussex with Somalia and Sudan through thefts of cooking pots and gifts of cloth
Europeans who ‘explored’ and hunted in eastern Africa in the later nineteenth century engaged local caravan traders to act as guides and protectors on their journeys from the coast to the interior. Each with loads carried by more than 200 porters, caravans brought trade goods into the region, and took out the material culture collected by the Europeans. Fleur Martin discusses how these processes of exchange – and theft – can be understood, highlighting the violence and agency that lies behind imperial collections in a case study of the James brothers’ journeys through Somalia and Sudan. Their collection of eastern African material cultural heritage is now housed at West Dean, an arts and conservation college in Sussex.