Colonized Objects and Bodies in Europe

New challenges and new perspectives on the Decolonialization of Cultural Heritage. Hybrid conference, 24-25 June 2022 @Uni_WUE; registration until 22 June



Colonized Objects and Bodies in Europe

New challenges and new perspectives on the Decolonialization of Cultural Heritage

Würzburg, 24th and 25th of June 2022

In both the ex-colonial and the ex-colonized worlds, visions of Africa and its colonial past have become incarcerated in stereotypes, dichotomies, and historical misrepresentation. Especially in European Cultural Heritage, we see a mixture of these ambivalent subjects and habits of lack of self-searching. But the restitution debate in Europe on cultural objects from Africa (Sarr/Savoy 2018) and the Black Lives Matter movement, which also reached Europe in 2020, have set the course for a questioning of the colonial essence of Cultural Heritage. Recent questions about history politics, cultural memory and cultural traditions are now also – and above all – debated in public. Museums, Cultural Heritage institutions, Universities with their collections and their self-image are now more than ever in the spotlight of the dynamics of a global debate.

We aim to discuss the following questions: How can Cultural Heritage be decolonized in science, society, politics and institutions in order to avoid ideological extremism? Are there national differences and similarities in Europe? Who are the actors and networks involved in defending the status quo or in decolonizing Cultural Heritage’? What are the direct and indirect consequences of unreflect and stereotypical Cultural Heritage in Europe? How can the ‘decolonialization of Cultural Heritage’ contribute to the field of development cooperation with the African continent?

The conference will be organized within four sessions:

  1. Historical misrepresentation: The concealment of colonial history in Cultural Heritage
  2. The survival of Stereotypes: Reflections on the Imaginary within Cultural Heritage
  3. University’s collection: Current states and new approaches
  4. European Museums: Restitutions and new displays


As we cannot estimate the development of the Covid pandemic situation for the event period, the conference will take place in hybrid form. Participation is possible on-site in presence or remotely as the entire conference will be streamed online via Zoom. The private policy of the University of Würzburg’s Zoom license can be viewed at the following link:

If you would like to participate in the conference program in person or digitally, please register using the form on the conference website. Digital participants will receive a Zoom access link by e-mail before the start of the conference. For organizational reasons, registration is possible until 22 June 2022.

Participation in the conference is free for interested persons who do not give an own presentation, except for the conference dinner and lunch. Digital participation is also free of charge.

For more information on the programme, speakers and venue, please click here.