skip to content

GSSC Seminar Series
27 February 2024


Resisting the Resistance: Unpacking Emotions in Decolonisation Processes at the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum

Freya Purzer Aragüés (University of Cologne)



This presentation explores emotions arising in decolonization processes at the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum (RJM) in Cologne. Museums, particularly ethnographic museums as colonial institutions, face pressure for transformation in the context of post-migrant societies. The RJM pursues a progressive decolonization policy, which is not universally embraced. The focus of the presentation is on the emotions of skeptics and resistors to decolonization processes, specifically amongst members of the museum community of the RJM and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Cologne. By examining both the emotions of participants and my own emotions, as well as the affective atmospheres over time, I aim to exemplify in my thesis the significant influence of emotions in debates surrounding institutional transformation processes.

Freya Purzer Aragüés is a lecturer at the University of Cologne's Social and Cultural Anthropology Department, specializing in emotions within decolonization processes in museums, particularly examining the impact on the museum society and the right-wing party (AfD) in Cologne. Holding an MA in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Cologne (soon), and dual BAs in 'Latin American Regional Studies' and Political Science, as well as Spanish and History, Freya is a research assistant and has been working since 2022 at the Global South Studies Center. Her work focuses on the anthropology of emotions, museum anthropology, social inequality, dependency studies, and colonial history, with a particular emphasis on transformation processes.