Charlotte Bigg: "From Colonial Science to African Heritage. What an historian of science can learn from working with anthropologists, archivists and curators on African photographic archives"

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Engelska parken 6-3025 (Rausing Room)
  • Organiser: Department of History of Science and Ideas
  • Contact person: Otto Sibum
  • Seminarium

History of Science Seminar

Research presentation by Charlotte Bigg, CNRS, Centre Alexandre Koyré, Paris 


I will present the collaborative project PhotIFAN, that aimed at exploring and studying the photographic collections of the Institut Français d'Afrique Noire, a research institute operating in colonial West Africa between 1936 and 1960.  Patterned on the Parisian Natural History Museum, it carried out and supported research and exploration in the natural, human and social sciences. One major activity was the production of photographs that are now disseminated across a range of locations. The project involved a collaboration between research institutions and museums in France and West Africa to explore some of the practical, epistemological and ethical questions raised by this kind of postcolonial scientific heritage. I reflect on some of the ways in which such projects might bear on practices in the history of science.