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Stories, Skulls, and Colonial Collections

From: Configurations
Volume 19, Number 1, Winter 2011
pp. 1-23 | 10.1353/con.2011.0002



The essay explores the hypothesis of colonial collecting processes involving the active addition of the colonial context and historical past to museum objects through the production of short stories. It examines the emergent historicity of collections through a focus on the "histories" that museum workers and colonial agents have been attaching to scientific collections of human skulls. Drawing on the notions of collection trajectory and historiographical work, it offers an alternative perspective from which to approach the creation of singular histories and individual archives for objects in collections.

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