About the symposium
Why, when and how does an object become contested? From street signs to monuments, from statues to spices – things and their meanings are under scrutiny. In recent years the racial and colonial dimensions of material culture have gained particular attention. Some traces have been around for years, others have a more recent history. Increasingly, people have become outspoken about the need to become aware of the different ways to consider not just the past, but also those objects that remind us of it. What happens if we look beyond museums and archives and also take into account other ‘things’ like architecture, monuments, food and interior design?
During the NIAS Symposium we will collectively explore what insights we can gain by shedding light on the racial and colonial dimensions of our material culture. When do objects start to live their own life? Even though the context of an object defines most of its meaning, the context itself can change too. And so we wonder: When and why do objects become contested? Which objects can connect but also lead to contestation? And how come? Can the materiality of an object pose constraints to what we can read in an object?
You are invited to join along this year’s NIAS Symposium, a one-day symposium with workshops and discussions. Together we’ll explore the power of ‘things’ and what happens when you bring the process of investigation and intellectual exchange into practice.
When and why do objects become contested? Which objects can connect but also lead to contestation?
11.30 – 12.00 Walk in @ Tinbergenzaal, Trippenhuis
12.00 – 13.00 Keynote session
Welcome by Jan Willem Duyvendak, Director NIAS
Joint keynote session by NIAS Fellows 2021/2022 Rahul Rao, Lecturer in International Political Thought, University of St. Andrews (UK) and Britta Schilling, Associate Professor of Cultural History at Utrecht University. Moderation: Rita Ouédraogo
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch @ Tinbergenzaal, Trippenhuis
14.00 – 16.00 Series of parallel workshops
Workshop 1 – How to engage with contested objects through embodied learning
A multi-sensory experience of Dutch Colonial Architecture in Amsterdam’s city center. In collaboration with KNAW Humanities Cluster NL-Lab and Far Too Close @ VOC-zaal Bushuis (University of Amsterdam). For more info, click here.
Workshop 2 – Contested Classics: Between the Netherlands and Indonesia – Colonialism; Imperialism?
Given by Miko Flohr, Lecturer in Ancient History at Leiden University and former NIAS fellow in collaboration with Laurien de Gelder, Curator at Allard Pierson @ Allard Pierson. For more information about this workshop, click here.
Workshop 3 – Weirding Europe: Contesting the Realist Paradigm in Contemporary Video and Film on Migration.
Provided by Florian Lippert, Associate Professor of European Culture and Literature at University of Groningen, Maria Boletsi, Endowed Professor at University of Amsterdam & Assistant Professor in Film and Literary Studies, Leiden University (NIAS 2021/2022 Fellows), and Janna Houwen, University Lecturer at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society @ NIAS-KNAW. For more information about this workshop, click here.
Workshop 4 – Gastro-politics of multi-cultural eating: Spices
Organised by Bernike Pasveer, Assistant Professor in Society Studies at Maastricht University and Ghazwan Yaghi, PhD in Islamic Archaeology and Arts from Cairo University and UAF Fellow 2021/22 @ VOX-POP. More info about the workshop, can be found here.
16.00 – 16.30 Short break with coffee, tea and snacks @ VOX-POP
16.30 – 17.00 Closing with Jan Willem Duyvendak and spoken word by Ricardo Domeneck, NIAS Writer-in-Residence @ VOX-POP
Please register using the red button at the top of this page.
Do not hesitate to contact us for any request related to the event: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Lunch will be vegetarian-friendly. Please advise us if you have any additional dietary requirements by emailing email@example.com. You will be reminded of this after booking your ticket.
**A limited number of places are available for students and participants with limited means. If you wish to apply for one of these places please contact us at the email address above.
***This is an English language event – De voertaal voor dit evenement is Engels.
This symposium aims to establish an atmosphere that stimulates dialogue and collective learning. By doing so to offer new perspectives in ongoing public debates.
Previous editions of the Annual NIAS Lecture series:
2018: Violence and the History of Inequality at de Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam
2019: Decolonization and the political use of history at Oude Lutherse Kerk, Amsterdam
2021: An imagined past. The politics of history making at Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam