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TRANSMAT-IN2PAST seminar Colonial Cultural Objects

European experiences of knowledge, return and reparations


The current debates surrounding cultural objects with provenance linked to colonial periods was at the heart of Lucas Lixinski’s talk at the TRANSMAT-IN2PAST seminar ‘Colonial Cultural Objects: European experiences of knowledge, return and reparations’. The meeting took place on December 6, at the National Library of Portugal Auditorium.

Full Professor at the Faculty of Law and Justice at the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia), Lucas Lixinski is a world expert in cultural heritage law, with more than 130 scientific publications in this area.

The main thesis of the talk, which informs a book Lixinski is finishing, is that any discussion about the return of these objects requires more than simple acts of return. Measures for the production of historical knowledge are required, and vigorous debates about cultural heritage are not seen as a static relic of the past, but as a vector of social and political relations regarding the society we want for the future.

Broadly speaking, the TRANSMAT project – full name Transnational materialities (1850-1930): restoring collections and connecting stories (‘Materialidades transnacionais (1850-1930): reconstituir coleções e conectar histórias’) – aims to compile and systematize academic data on the circulation of cultural goods and their cultural, social and political implications. IN2PAST takes part in this project, funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (PTDC/FER-HFC/2793/2020) and headed by IHC researchers Elisabete Pereira and Maria de Fátima Nunes.


‘Depiction of the Ferrante Imperato Museum’ in Naples.