Exploring the colonial legacies of Basel

On 26 November, the research groups of The Exotic? (University of Bern) and Atlantic Italies (University of Zurich) travelld to Basel and explored the colonial legacies of the city. In the morning, we visited the exhibition “Wissensdrang trifft Sammelwut” at the Museum der Kulturen. We were welcomed by the curator of the Oceanic collection, Beatrice Voirol, who guided us through the exhibition and discussed with us about practices of collecting during the colonial era and about current debates on restitution. In the afternoon we walked around the city, learning about historical entanglements between Basel and Africa. Camilla Ley and Veit Arlt (Centre for African Studies Basel) recalled stories of Basel merchant-bankers investing in slave ship ventures, local entrepreneurs producing printed cotton textiles for African markets, human zoos as well as anti-apartheid activism during the 1980s.