The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.

Seminars, Symposia, and Academic Conferences

Monday, May 27 ~Tuesday, May 28, 2013
《International Symposium》Can Cultural Heritage Forge Communities? Efforts in Africa

  • Date: Monday, May 27, 2013 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. / Tuesday, May 28, 2013 10:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
  • Venue: Conference Room 4, National Museum of Ethnology
  • Inquiries: 10-1 Senri Expo Park, Suita, Osaka 565-8511, Japan
    Tel: +81-(0)6-6876-2151
    e-mail: mistyforest13★

Today, as the globalization process goes on, many local communities are either exposed to the risk of dissolution, or driven to strengthen their identity which is easily appropriated for narrow-minded nationalism. As a result, communal memories on values and practices, or the culture in a word, are getting difficult to be inherited because they have been embedded in and inherited through the face-to-face interaction in the community. Under this circumstance, inheritance of memories and cultures is one of the biggest challenges to the humans as a whole.

To overcome this challenge, this symposium discusses a hypothesis: in this supermodern age, memories and cultural phenomena are not only embedded in the community; but also, on the contrary, communities can emerge, at least some cases, around the memories and cultural phenomena as central cores. Such "emerging communities" include kinship or neighboring groups redefined by memories and cultural heritages. According to this hypothesis, therefore, communities can be revitalized and constructed by "active inheritance" of memories or cultural heritages.

This symposium focuses on the African area where communal movements rooted on local values are on a high tide. African people experienced, as the closest others for Europeans, colonization in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the 21st century, ethnic groups divided by national boundaries restarted communicating for reunification, and cultural heritages robbed away are being reclaimed gradually. In such cases, intangible memories or tangible/intangible cultural heritages play a great part in formation of communities. Beginning with such African cases, this symposium intends to reach a more generalized discussion on common problem of humans relating to cultural heritages, communities, and globalization / modernization.


Monday, May 27
10:00 a.m. - 10:10 a.m. Opening Remarks
Ken'ichi Sudo (Director-General, National Museum of Ethnology)
10:10 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Introductory Remarks
Taku Iida (National Museum of Ethnology)
Session 1   Visual Representation of Cultural Heritage
10:30 a.m. - 11:10 a.m. "Visual Citizenship in Senegal: Contemporary Contests of Cultural Heritage"
Allen Roberts (University of California)
11:10 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. "Formation and Rediscovery of Cultural Identity through Ethnographic Films: A Case from Ethiopia"
Itsushi Kawase (National Museum of Ethnology)
11:50 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. Comments and Discussion
Commentator: Atsushi Nobayashi (National Museum of Ethnology)
12:10 p.m. - 2:20 p.m. Lunch Break / Gallery Tour (Africa Gallery)
Session 2   Communities Forged by Festivals
2:20 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. "Burial Communities and the Undermining of Royalty"
John Mack (University of East Anglia)
3:00 p.m. - 3:40 p.m. "Creating Festivals, Revitalizing Communities: Ongoing Cultural Movements in Zambia"
Kenji Yoshida (National Museum of Ethnology)
3:40 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Comments and Discussion
Commentator: Shota Fukuoka (National Museum of Ethnology)
Session 3   Museum Objects as Cultural Heritage
4:00 p.m. - 4:40 p.m. "The Community Speaks with Many Voices: Representing African Cultural Heritage in the Museum"
Mary Jo Arnoldi (National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution)
4:40 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Comments and Discussion
Commentator: Kyonosuke Hirai (National Museum of Ethnology)
Tuesday, May 28
Session 4   World Heritage and Communities
10:30 a.m. - 11:10 a.m. "Critical Changes in Djenne Community after Its Nomination as World Heritage"
Oussouby Sacko (Kyoto Seika University)
11:10 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. "Cultural Heritages, Sacred Places and Living Spaces: The Mijikenda Kaya Forests Case of the Kenyan Coast in East Africa."
Katsuhiko Keida (Kumamoto University)
11:50 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. Comments and Discussion
Commentator: Yuji Seki (National Museum of Ethnology)
12:10 p.m. - 2:20 p.m. Lunch Break / Gallery Tour (Special Exhibition "Zafimaniry Style: Life and Handicrafts in the Mist Forest of Madagascar")
Session 5   Community - Forging Heritage and UNESCO Intangible Heritage
2:20 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. "Intangible Heritage, Memories and Local Communities : Madagascar Case"
Chantal Radimilahy (Université d'Antananarivo)
3:00 p.m. - 3:40 p.m. "From Decoration to the Ethnic Symbol: Zafimaniry Relief Pattern in Madagascar"
Taku Iida (National Museum of Ethnology)
3:40 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Comments and Discussion
Commentator: Shinpei Ota (National Museum of Ethnology)
4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. General Discussion
Discussants Shigeyuki Miyata (Agency for Cultural Affairs), Kiyoshi Hasegawa (Bunkyo University), Ryusuke Kodani (Tohoku History Museum)