Mittwoch, 18. Oktober 2023, 13:00 - 14:30 iCal

Collections and Collecting Lunch Seminar

Dr. Jaanika Vider (Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology), "Strangers in Storage: Exploring Estonian 'Foreign Ethnology' Collections"

Sitzungszimmer of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology on the 4th floor of the Neues Institutsgebäude
Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Wien

Seminar, Workshop, Kurs

"Strangers in Storage: Exploring Estonian 'Foreign Ethnology' Collections"


In the newly built storage facilities of the Estonian History Museum in Tallinn and the award-winning building of the Estonian National Museum approximately 4,000 'foreign ethnology' or 'world cultures' objects reside in a liminal space. Not classified as 'ethnographic' (term reserved for Estonian ethnographic material) nor part of the Finno-Ugric 'kinspeople' collections, they do not seem to belong.


The talk focuses on the circumpolar and Northwest Coast Indigenous objects associated with collecting activities of Baltic-German scholars, explorers, and government officials such as Alexander Theodor von Middendorff, Karl von Ditmar, Ferdinand von Wrangell, and Adam Johann von Krusenstern. In the light of recent interest in applying decolonial frameworks and processes in Eastern European representational practices, I look at questions these collections pose about Estonian self-identity and global relations. Looking towards the future, the paper asks what forms of relating to and caring for the environment these collections trace and afford.


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Seminar Description


Over the past decades, nuanced research and engagement with material objects has emerged as an important part of historical and anthropological research. Following trends emerging from the fields of history, history of science, history of anthropology, and visual and museum anthropology, this group attends to the role of collections of natural and human-made materials as catalysts or jumping off points for historical and contemporary engagements in the production of knowledge widely construed, in all time periods and geographic regions.


The Vienna-based Collections and Collecting Lunch Seminar aims to bring together colleagues across disciplines and foster academic discussions for regular in-person and informal seminars where work-in-progress papers and projects will be presented. We invite members to discuss how objects have been gathered, circulated, bought and sold, organized, modified, and represented. That is, how they operate in and create different systems of value and to think about the relations they embody.


Brooke Penaloza-Patzak & Jaanika Vidder


Brooke Penaloza-Patzak
"Beringia: Material Evidence, Praxis and the Shape of Science" (FWF Schrödinger Stipendium 2020-2023)
Institut für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte
+43 1 4277 41326