National Showing Off and Telling Off: Ethnology, Anthropology and the Humboldt Forum

This talk focuses on the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, opened fully in 2022, which is widely seen as a highly significant statement about the position and future-orientation of post-unification Germany. Containing, among others, displays from the collections of the Ethnological Museum, the Humboldt Forum also reflects and mobilises certain understandings of ethnology and anthropology – their histories, crimes, capacities and potentials. Through an analysis of these, the talk will also discuss the tensions and dynamics between showing off and telling off that are witnessed in the Humboldt Forum’s making and its resulting displays.