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Schomburgk’s Chook

  • Focusing on the politics of museums, collections and the untold stories of the scientific ‘specimens’ that travelled between Germany and Australia, this article reconstructs the historical, interpersonal and geopolitical contexts that made it possible for the stuffed skin of an Australian malleefowl to become part of the collections of Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde. The author enquires into the kinds of contexts that are habitually considered irrelevant when a specimen of natural history is treated as an object of taxonomic information only. In case of this particular specimen human and non-human history become entangled in ways that link the fate of this one small Australian bird to the German revolutionary generation of 1848, to Germany’s nineteenth-century colonial aspirations, to settler–Indigenous relations, to the cruel realities that underpinned the production of scientific knowledge in colonial Australia, and to a present-day interest in reconstructing Indigenous knowledges.

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Author details:Anja SchwarzORCiDGND
Title of parent work (English):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Philosophische Reihe
Subtitle (English):the entangled South Australian collections of a German naturalist
Publication series (Volume number):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Philosophische Reihe (141)
Publication type:Postprint
Date of first publication:2018/07/13
Completion year:2018
Publishing institution:Universität Potsdam
Release date:2018/07/13
Tag:German colonialism; Richard Schomburgk; colonial Australia; malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata); natural history collections
Page number:16
Source:Postcolonial Studies 21 (2018) 1, S. 20–34 DOI 10.1080/13688790.2018.1434749
Organizational units:Philosophische Fakultät
Peer review:Referiert
Publishing method:Open Access
Grantor:Taylor & Francis Open Access Agreement
License (German):License LogoCC BY-NC-ND - Namensnennung, nicht kommerziell, keine Bearbeitung, 4.0 International