Pieces of a Nation

South Sudanese Heritage and Museum Collections

Edited by Zoe Cormack & Cherry Leonardi | 2021

Pieces of a Nation

South Sudanese Heritage and Museum Collections

Edited by Zoe Cormack & Cherry Leonardi | 2021


Paperback ISBN: 9789464260120 | Hardback ISBN: 9789464260137 | Imprint: Sidestone Press | Format: 182x257mm | 212 pp. | Language: English | 14 illus. (bw) | 36 illus. (fc) | Keywords: museum studies; heritage; Africa; conflict; colonialism | download cover

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South Sudan became independent in 2011 after decades of rebel wars with the Government of Sudan. Independence prompted discussions about South Sudanese identity and shared history, in which material objects and cultural heritage featured as vitally important resources. However, the long-term effects of colonialism and conflict had largely precluded any concerted attempts to preserve material culture within the country; museums remained in Khartoum, the capital of the formally united Sudan. Furthermore, tens of thousands of objects had been removed from what is now South Sudan during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to museum and private collections around the world.

Up to now there have been few attempts to reconnect the history of these South Sudanese museum collections with people in or from South Sudan. Pieces of a Nation is the first extended study of South Sudanese material cultural heritage in museum collections and beyond.

The chapters discuss a range of different objects and practices – from museum objects taken from South Sudan in the context of enslavement and colonialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to efforts by South Sudanese to preserve their country’s cultural heritage during recent conflicts.

With essays by 32 contributors in Europe, South Sudan, Uganda and Australia, this book delivers a unique range of perspectives on museum objects from South Sudan and on heritage practices in the country and among its diaspora. Written by curators, academics, heritage professionals and artists in accessible and engaging style, it is intended for scholars, museum professionals and a wide range of individuals interested in South Sudan, African arts and cultures, the history of museum collecting and colonialism and/or the role of material heritage in peacebuilding and refugee contexts.

At a time of widespread, prominent debates over the provenance of museum collections from Africa and calls for restitution, this book provides an in-depth empirical study of the circumstances and practices that led to South Sudanese objects entering foreign museum collections and the importance of these objects in South Sudan and around the world today.

List of Figures
About the Contributors
Acknowledgements

Introduction
Zoe Cormack and Cherry Leonardi

C19th Commercial Entanglements

From ‘Bush’ to ‘Boudoir’
Zachary Kingdon

‘A very Singular Helmet…’
Jeremy Coote and Alison Petch

A Headdress of Human Hair
Nadja Haumberger

Travelling and Talking Objects

The ‘Omdurman’ Slit-Drum
John Mack

A Talking Drum
Samuel Zanunga Biegene, Takido Zambia Sebit and Sebit Fandas

Music that Breathes Life
Justin Billy Buwali

Like Doves in Flight
John Ryle

Resistance and (Re)appropriations

The Musealization of the Gift
Paola Ivanov

‘Captured’ at the Battle of Omdurman
Nick Badcott

Car Koryom’s Fly Whisk
Douglas Johnson

Small Drum, Wooden and Hide, variable Pitch
Richard Vokes

Problems of Representation

‘Spears’ that are not Spears
Jok Madut Jok

Out of Frame
Chris Morton

A Dinka Madonna?
Ludmilla Jordanova

An Unused Hunting Spear
Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp

Markets and Collecting

The Potter of Li Rangu
Inbal Livne

The Market in Memory
Zoe Cormack

Containing the Harvest
Patti Langton

Of Replicas, Refusals and Resistance
Elfatih Atem and Rebecca Lorins

Heritage in War and Peace

New Sudan Ephemera
Nicki Kindersley and Yosa Wawa

Heritage in Displacement
Deng Nhial Chioh

A European Union Jerry-Can
Adebo Nelson Abiti and John Giblin

Because the World is not Ending
Florence Henry Lokule and Alex Miskin

Afterword: A World in Process: Recovering Agency through Objects
Annie E. Coombes

Bibliography

Dr. Zoe Cormack

Zoe Cormack is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the African Studies Centre, Oxford University and an honorary research affiliate at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Zoe has previously held research fellowships at the British School at Rome, the British Institute in East Africa and the Open University. Her most recent article, ‘Violence and the Trade in Ethnographic Artefacts in Nineteenth Century Sudan,’ is published in The Journal of Art Market Studies (2020).

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Dr. Cherry Leonardi

Cherry Leonardi is Associate Professor in African History at Durham University in the UK. She works on the history of South Sudan and northern Uganda, with particular interests in local-level processes of state formation and the construction of authority, communities and boundaries. Her current research is exploring histories of conservation, conflict and nature, with a Carson Fellowship at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich in 2020.

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Abstract:

South Sudan became independent in 2011 after decades of rebel wars with the Government of Sudan. Independence prompted discussions about South Sudanese identity and shared history, in which material objects and cultural heritage featured as vitally important resources. However, the long-term effects of colonialism and conflict had largely precluded any concerted attempts to preserve material culture within the country; museums remained in Khartoum, the capital of the formally united Sudan. Furthermore, tens of thousands of objects had been removed from what is now South Sudan during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to museum and private collections around the world.

Up to now there have been few attempts to reconnect the history of these South Sudanese museum collections with people in or from South Sudan. Pieces of a Nation is the first extended study of South Sudanese material cultural heritage in museum collections and beyond.

The chapters discuss a range of different objects and practices – from museum objects taken from South Sudan in the context of enslavement and colonialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to efforts by South Sudanese to preserve their country’s cultural heritage during recent conflicts.

With essays by 32 contributors in Europe, South Sudan, Uganda and Australia, this book delivers a unique range of perspectives on museum objects from South Sudan and on heritage practices in the country and among its diaspora. Written by curators, academics, heritage professionals and artists in accessible and engaging style, it is intended for scholars, museum professionals and a wide range of individuals interested in South Sudan, African arts and cultures, the history of museum collecting and colonialism and/or the role of material heritage in peacebuilding and refugee contexts.

At a time of widespread, prominent debates over the provenance of museum collections from Africa and calls for restitution, this book provides an in-depth empirical study of the circumstances and practices that led to South Sudanese objects entering foreign museum collections and the importance of these objects in South Sudan and around the world today.

Contents

List of Figures
About the Contributors
Acknowledgements

Introduction
Zoe Cormack and Cherry Leonardi

C19th Commercial Entanglements

From ‘Bush’ to ‘Boudoir’
Zachary Kingdon

‘A very Singular Helmet…’
Jeremy Coote and Alison Petch

A Headdress of Human Hair
Nadja Haumberger

Travelling and Talking Objects

The ‘Omdurman’ Slit-Drum
John Mack

A Talking Drum
Samuel Zanunga Biegene, Takido Zambia Sebit and Sebit Fandas

Music that Breathes Life
Justin Billy Buwali

Like Doves in Flight
John Ryle

Resistance and (Re)appropriations

The Musealization of the Gift
Paola Ivanov

‘Captured’ at the Battle of Omdurman
Nick Badcott

Car Koryom’s Fly Whisk
Douglas Johnson

Small Drum, Wooden and Hide, variable Pitch
Richard Vokes

Problems of Representation

‘Spears’ that are not Spears
Jok Madut Jok

Out of Frame
Chris Morton

A Dinka Madonna?
Ludmilla Jordanova

An Unused Hunting Spear
Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp

Markets and Collecting

The Potter of Li Rangu
Inbal Livne

The Market in Memory
Zoe Cormack

Containing the Harvest
Patti Langton

Of Replicas, Refusals and Resistance
Elfatih Atem and Rebecca Lorins

Heritage in War and Peace

New Sudan Ephemera
Nicki Kindersley and Yosa Wawa

Heritage in Displacement
Deng Nhial Chioh

A European Union Jerry-Can
Adebo Nelson Abiti and John Giblin

Because the World is not Ending
Florence Henry Lokule and Alex Miskin

Afterword: A World in Process: Recovering Agency through Objects
Annie E. Coombes

Bibliography

Dr. Zoe Cormack

Zoe Cormack is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the African Studies Centre, Oxford University and an honorary research affiliate at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Zoe has previously held research fellowships at the British School at Rome, the British Institute in East Africa and the Open University. Her most recent article, ‘Violence and the Trade in Ethnographic Artefacts in Nineteenth Century Sudan,’ is published in The Journal of Art Market Studies (2020).

read more

Dr. Cherry Leonardi

Cherry Leonardi is Associate Professor in African History at Durham University in the UK. She works on the history of South Sudan and northern Uganda, with particular interests in local-level processes of state formation and the construction of authority, communities and boundaries. Her current research is exploring histories of conservation, conflict and nature, with a Carson Fellowship at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich in 2020.

read more










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