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publication Material Culture in Transit Zainabu Jallo Niklas Wolf

Material Culture in Transit: Theory and Practice (Routledge 2023) – new Publication out now (DOI:  10.4324/9781003282334)

The book was edited by Zainabu Jallo, featuring a contribution by Niklas Wolf. 

The study of artefacts, objects, and things – or in whichever term the material world is described – is not only restricted to their physical attributes but engages in an interplay between people and things. (…) This stresses that Onthology, unlike semiotics, is geared towards being and experiencing. (Zainabu Jallo, Moving Matter: Worlds of Material Culture, DOI: 10.4324/9781003282334-1)

Material Culture in Transit: Theory and Practice constellates curators and scholars actively working with material culture within academic and museal institutions through theory and practice. The rich collection of essays critically addresses the multivalent ways in which mobility reshapes the characteristics of artefacts, specifically under prevailing issues of representation and colonial liabilities. The volume attests to material culture as central to understanding the repercussions of problematic histories and proposes novel ways to address them. It offers valuable reading for scholars of anthropology, museum studies, history and others with an interest in material culture.

In probing various representations of Vodun objects within European museums, cyberspace and other non-religious domains, Niklas Wolf scrutinises the agencies of West African Vodun objects in the political contexts of migration and globalisation. The „Material Culture of Vodun“ offers some indications of the meanings and instrumentality of a contemporary and globalised Vodun. Wolf raises questions on issues of „(im)mobilisation, appropriation, and continuous actualisation“ while introducing aspects of steadfast connections between Vodun’s display and material culture in West African shrines. (Niklas Wolf, The Material Culture of Vodun. Case Studies from Ghana, Togo, Germany and In-Between, DOI: 10.4324/9781003282334-11)