Repatriation as Pedagogy

Jane Anderson, Sonya Atalay

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Repatriation as pedagogy is a prompt for thinking through the relationships that repatriation makes possible and the transformative practices that repatriation teaches us are necessary for the future. We understand repatriation in its most expansive sense to include a process of returning Indigenous ancestors, culturally significant belongings and relations, language materials, representations of culture, data, and biological specimens. Moving beyond what repatriation is or does to what repatriation requires us to acknowledge and change, we begin by discussing what repatriation is a response to and the relationships that have been activated, energized, and rebuilt through repatriation projects. Our central argument is that repatriation is pedagogy for the academy. Centering Indigenous ontology, it opens new futures in previously underconsidered ways, especially our obligations, responsibilities, and relationships in research. Through three repatriation case studies that connect relations in arts, ancestors, and the digital, we link pasts with presents and futures to demonstrate that repatriation presents multiple opportunities for learning about research practices. These cases demonstrate that change is possible, even within contexts that have deep histories of research furthering violent colonial technologies of rule. They instruct us on how to engage in research that is regenerative rather than extractive.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)670-691
    Number of pages22
    JournalCurrent Anthropology
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Dec 2023

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Archaeology
    • Anthropology
    • Archaeology


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