Uncertain curature: In and out of the archive. Edited by Carolyn Hamilton and Pippa Skotnes
Uncertain Curature is a volume of bold and original explorations of the archive – the past, our material inheritance – and the ways it is displayed, interpreted and given meaning in the postcolonial world of South Africa. This operation on the past – what authors have called ‘curature’ – can be seen as the postcolony’s way of rescripting its own history, which is both a trauma to be dealt with and a resource for the future.
The idea of curation is explored in a series of chapters whose subjects include a controversial Bushman diorama, a cache of negatives found in a disused mining hostel, fieldwork photographs of the exhumation of children’s bodies from an archaeological dig, artefacts and images of ‘the Zulu’ in Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum, artists’ depictions of Steve Biko’s corpse, the colonial inheritance of Victoriana and the queen herself, and anti-apartheid black-centred films.