Discussion and Q&A, Moderated by Gwen Gordon (U Penn)
How has NAGPRA legislation impacted the development of legal processes for repatriation and other forms of reparation? In what ways might we think about moving beyond NAGPRA? In what ways must North American museum practitioners also grapple with questions of empire and slavery in thinking about meaningful processes of repair?
Jane Anderson is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies and a Global Fellow in the Engelberg Center for Innovation Law and Policy in the Law School at New York University. She also has a Ph.D. in Law from the Law School at University of New South Wales in Australia. Anderson’s work is focused on the philosophical and practical problems for intellectual property law and the protection of Indigenous/traditional knowledge resources and cultural heritage in support of Indigenous knowledge and data sovereignty. She is the co-founder (with Professor Kim Christen, Washington State University) of Local Contexts, an initiative to support Native, First Nations, Aboriginal, Metis, Inuit and Indigenous communities in the management of intellectual property and cultural heritage specifically within the digital environment.
Local Contexts provides legal, extra-legal, and educational strategies (including the TK Labels system) for navigating copyright law and creating new options for Indigenous control over vital cultural heritage. Anderson has also been involved with The Biocultural (BC) Labels Initiative and ENRICH (Equity in Indigenous Research and Innovation Co-ordinating Hub). By providing strategic resources and practical solutions, both of these collective initiatives are working towards a new paradigm of rights and responsibilities that recognizes the inherent sovereignty that Indigenous communities have over cultural heritage and data.
Wayne Modest is the Director of Content for the National Museum of Worldcultures and the Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam and head of the Research Center of Material Culture. He is also professor of Material Culture and Critical Heritage Studies (by special appointment) in the faculty of humanities at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (VU). Modest was previously, head of the curatorial department at the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam; Keeper of Anthropology at the Horniman Museum in London, and Director of the Museums of History and Ethnography in Kingston, Jamaica.
He was a Visiting Fellow with the Center for Experimental Ethnography at Penn during the spring 2020 semester.
He has held visiting scholar positions at the Yale Centre for British Art, Yale University and the School for Museums Studies, New York University. Wayne Modest’s work is driven by a concern for more historically contingent ways of understanding the present, especially in relation to material culture/museum collections. His research interests include issues of belonging and displacement; material mobilities; histories of (ethnographic) collecting and exhibitionary practices; difficult/contested heritage (with a special focus on slavery, colonialism and post-colonialism); Caribbean Thought. More recently Modest has been researching and publishing on heritage and citizenship in Europe with special attention for urban life, and on ethnographic museums and questions of redress/repair.
Ann M. Kakaliouras (she/they) is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Whittier College, a small liberal arts college near Los Angeles, California that serves a student body comprised of over 70% BIPOC and 40% first generation students. She started out in academia as a bioarchaeologist, but has retooled her research toward Science Studies, Indigenous Studies, and the history of North American physical/biological anthropology. Her primary research interest is in the phenomenon of repatriation—specifically the ways in which repatriation may encourage further decolonization efforts both within and outside of Anthropology.
She also has corollary research interests in how biological anthropology constructed and maintains itself as a scientific enterprise dependent on the bodies of Black, Indigenous, and other peoples of color. She teaches a wide array of courses in both sociocultural and biological anthropology, and is also the Gender Equity Coordinator at Whittier College.
Rachel J. Watkins is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at American University. Her research focuses on the physiological impact of poverty and inequality on the human body, with an emphasis on the biological and social history of African Americans living in the 19th and 20th century urban US. She began this journey studying the health consequences of poverty and inequality through skeletal and documentary data analysis, with a focus on the W. Montague Cobb skeletal collection, an anatomical collection made up of DC residents who died in the city between 1930 and 1969.
This research led to a broader interest in past and present studies of the human body as a biological and social product within biological anthropology. Her current research and writing focuses on the use of African American skeletal remains and living bodies in the development of bioanthropological practices and racial formation.
Gwendolyn Gordon is an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Her research is centered on comparative corporate law, focusing specifically on the intersection of indigenous peoples’ cultural norms with issues of corporate governance and social responsibility.
She has done long-term ethnographic fieldwork in New Zealand with an indigenously owned corporation. She received a B.A. in 2002 from Cornell University and her J.D. in 2006 from Harvard Law School, where she focused on social and economic human rights for indigenous groups. She received a Ph.D. in anthropology from Princeton University in 2014. Prior to becoming an academic, she worked as a corporate attorney in the London and New York offices of Shearman and Sterling LLP.