̎Entangled Objects, Entangled Histories. A Collaborative Provenenance Research on a Heterogeneous Colonial-Era Collection by Joseph B. Ebune, Karin Guggeis & Ngome Elvis Nkome

Panel: Cooperation Projects on Cameroonian Collections. Experiences and Perspectives 
Tuesday, 22 June, 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. (CET)


This paper focusses a collaborative and transdiciplinary German-Cameroonian provenance research on a colonial-era collection at Museum Fünf Kontinente. Funded by the German Centre for the Loss of Cultural Property and the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts, the Max von Stetten Collection is researched from a German and Cameroonian perspective for two years. The colonial officer von Stetten was involved in several military actions in leading positions between 1891 and 1896, i.e. in the early phase of the seizure of Cameroon by the German Empire. In addition to the kind of the acquisition situations and the acquisition places, the project uses the person of Max von Stetten as an example to explore the entangled history between Germany and Cameroon during this phase of colonial expansion. However, the project is not only focused on the past, but also on the present and on future developments. A particular focus is on the significance of the objects today for the descendants of the communities of origin and on the emerging discourse on the future handling of looted property and sensitive cultural assets in particular. In the interest of post-colonial provenance research, intensive cooperation with both academic partners in Cameroon and the descendants of the communities of origin is therefore indispensable. In this pilot project, however, there are no blueprints to fall back on. Other challenges such as the global Corona crisis or the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon are also discussed.


Joseph B. EBUNE, (Ph.D), is an associate Professor of African History and Civilizations at the Department of History, University of Buea. He currently serves as Deputy Director at the Higher Technical Teacher’s Training College (HTTTC) Kumba of the University of Buea. He research interest cuts across colonial rule, African systems of thoughts, culture and cultural patrimony of Cameroon from the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial eras with focus on African arts, cultures and believes systems. Prof. Ebune has a wealth of research and teaching experiences of African History spanning over 20 years in addition to several publications to his credits. Apart from being a senior University administrator, he has attended and facilitated at high-level conferences, seminars and symposia in Cameroon and abroad.


NGOME ELVIS NKOME recently defended his Ph.D in History from the Department of History, University of Yaounde 1, Cameroon. Before his recruitment as Research Assistant for the Anglophone Region within the context of the on-going Provenance Research on Germany-Cameroon relations, specifically, on Max von Stetten’s collections, has been Part-Time Lecturer at the Department of History, University of Buea, Cameroon. His research interests are in the fields of culture history, African arts and the Cameroon-German/ European influences during colonial period and beyond. He has published articles in reviewed and peer review journals as well as attended conferences, workshops and Seminars in Cameroon, Kenya, and Nigeria in recent years.


Dr Karin Guggeis is the overall director of the provenance research project "The 'Blue Rider Post' and the Max von Stetten Collection (1893 - 1896) from Cameroon“ at Museum Fünf Kontinente in Munich. She worked at this museum for 27 years in various fields. She has co-curated several exhibitions on Africa as well as a large exhibition on football as a global phenomenon. The ethnologist's research focuses on provenance research, African art, the African art market, globalisation and racism.

Selected publications
• Alles Raubkunst? Erste Ergebnisse zum Provenienzforschungsprojekt über Max von Stettens kolonialzeitliche Sammlung aus Kamerun im Museum Fünf Kontinente. In: Journal Fünf Kontinente, Bd. 3 2018/2019. Museum Fünf Kontinente, München, 2020. S. 10-29
• with Gouaffo, Albert: Die Antworten sind so unterschiedlich wie die Personen selbst. Erste Feldforschungsergebnisse zur Provenienz einer kolonialen Sammlung aus Kamerun im Museum Fünf Kontinente München. In: Provenienz & Forschung 02/ 2020. Kultur- und Sammlungsgut aus kolonialen Kontexten. Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste, Magdeburg, 2020. S. 8-14.
• with Joseph Ebune and Ngome Evis Nkome: “´Knowledge and collective memories have faded away´ – Aktueller Stand der Provenienzforschung zum ´Blaue Reiter-Pfosten´ aus der ehemaligen Kolonie Kamerun im Museum Fünf Kontinente“ (film by Nicolai Kästner).