The Centre for Curating the Archive is delighted to welcome its new Research Fellow, Dr Duane Jethro. A graduate of Utrecht University, Jethro has been repatriated from Berlin, Germany, where he has been a post-doctoral researcher in the project “Making Differences: Transforming Museums and Heritage in the 21st Century”, at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage, CARMAH, at the Humboldt University Berlin. CARMAH was established in the Institute for European Ethnology at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, in partnership with the Museum of Natural History Berlin and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, as part of the research award for Professor Sharon Macdonald’s Alexander von Humboldt Professorship.
Dr Jethro’s thinking circulates around matters of making, brokering and reconfiguring the material past claimed as heritage. Launching research into the cultural production of heritage and contested public cultures, he has realised publications on heritage formation and the senses in post-apartheid South Africa. He has also written about the reworking of material remainders of the apartheid past as luxury commodities, as a means of evaluating the ethical limits of the commercial aesthetic repackaging of the past. This research has been published in Material Religion, the International Journal of Heritage Studies and Tourist Studies – and his book, Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Aesthetics of Power, was published in 2020 by Bloomsbury Academic. At CARMAH, he worked on the contestation and negotation of the German colonial past, particularly the inflections and resonances of decolonisation as category of critical, public engagement in the context of public debates about street names in Berlin. The intersections between religion and heritage are also enduring subjects of interest, and currently he is interpreting their conceptual connections and divergences in the debate about the Christian cross erected above the Humboldt Forum/Berlin City Palace.
The possibilities of archive in and for public life have also captured his attention, as a Research Fellow of Archive and Public Culture, at the University of Cape Town. He is excited to be thinking with colleagues at the CCA about the conceptual and aesthetic potential of the University of Cape Town’s art collection for constituting publicness, South African/German curatorial circulations and museological possibilities.
We feel equally excited and privileged to have him as part of the team.
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