How Not to Get A-head in Anthropology: Anthropological Face Casts and Ongoing Issues of Ambiguity, Memory, and Resilience
Friday, February 11, 2022 at 1:30pm (Eastern)
Zoom link -- https://go.iu.edu/4h02
Anthropologically informed plaster face casts were produced in the 19th and 20th centuries as part of an effort to develop human typologies, and to acquire data on what were perceived to be the morphological attributes of race. Their subsequent affective, politically sensitive, promiscuously mobile, and precarious qualities have resulted in them occupying highly charged territories within collections, as well as between museums and descendant communities. They are objects with inherent ambiguities due to how they exist at the intersections of art and science, merging individual, cultural, political, and colonialized bodies. Casts also provide tangible traces of unwanted physical intimacy resulting from how colonized peoples often had no choice in being cast or handled by strangers. In recent years, however, they have also been used by descendent communities as memorials of family members. This article explores this potent intersection of ambiguity and intimacy that these casts occupy, arguing for an ethical protocol for their treatment that acknowledges their history, colonial contexts, and the processes behind their creation, as well as their current legacies, facets of resilience, as well as their re-socialization through renewed relationships with descendant communities.
Event co-hosted by the Institute for Advanced Study.
Coffee and Curators: Jingling bells and hidden silver: Egyptian Zar jewelry from the Dee Birnbaum Collection
Thursday, February 17, 2022 at 3pm (Eastern)
Zoom link -- https://go.iu.edu/4h03
Once widely practiced in Egypt but now largely performed in secret, Zar is a type of folk ritual intended to heal ailments believed to be caused by spirit possession. Predominately associated with women, Zar rituals were not intended to exorcise spirits but to please them so that the patient was no longer suffering. In addition to music, dancing, food, and offerings, jewelry played a prominent role in Zar ceremonies and was a component of daily dress for Zar practitioners. This talk by Emily Bryant will highlight some of the numerous Zar-related pieces from the Dee Birnbaum textile and jewelry collection. The second of our Coffee and Curators series for 2022, the event will feature a 10-minute talk and a 10-minute question and answer session. The event will be free and open to the public.
Coffee and Curators: Saving the Wanamaker Collection
Thursday, March 10, 2022 at 3pm (Eastern)
Zoom link -- https://go.iu.edu/4guT
The stories of how the Wanamaker Collection of American Indian Photographs came to Indiana University and how it’s been cared for over the years. The third of our Coffee and Curators series for 2022, this time presented by Chief Curator Ellen Sieber, the event will feature a 10-minute talk and a 10-minute question and answer session. The event will be free and open to the public.
Coffee and Curators: Hoosier Heritage-Warder W. Stevens, Logan Esarey, and Indiana collections at IUMAA
Thursday, April 14, 2022 at 3pm (Eastern)
Zoom link -- https://go.iu.edu/4guU
The Spring semester’s final “Coffee and Curators” presentation explores the museum’s Hoosier heritage. The IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology holds several collections of Indiana historical material, including artifacts documenting home textile industries, carpentry, and stone working, as well as items of everyday use. The core of this set of materials is the Stevens-Esarey Collection, approximately 300 items in all. It was amassed by Salem, Indiana, resident Warder W. Stevens in the early 1900s. Stevens wished to save traditionally-used tools he saw disappearing with lifestyle changes occurring at the time. The collection was obtained by Indiana University in 1914 through the work of history professor Logan Esarey, who recognized the value of having material objects as teaching aids, and promoted the use of this collection in the teaching of history. Judy Kirk, Assistant Director of IUMAA, will explore the work of the two men and the artifacts they collected and documented, still held by the museum today. The event will be free and open to the public.