The Question of the Emic and Etic Categorisation of Fang Objects by Drossilia Dikegue Igouwe

Panel: Dialogues between Theory and Practice. Theoretical Approaches and Case Studies of Postcolonial Provenance Research 
Monday, 21 June, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (CET)


The discourse of this work follows the principle of progressing from the most visible to the least visible. By “most visible” we mean the objects to be examined and the information that is accessible to us in the databases of the Lübeck Ethnographic Collection. The aspect of the “least visible” is represented by the population groups who previously owned these objects and who in the past often had to experience these “collections”.
Using information from the society of origin, the emic nomenclature of African cultural assets is to be incorporated into the development of a kind of encyclopaedia in a defined process. It ranges from the natural ecological environment of the material used, through the manufacture, to its acquisition and finally to the museum. The resulting designation should consist of the emic name of the object and its method of manufacturing.
There is a structure in the classification of objects and there are several levels of understanding. They cover the meaning, importance, usage itself and its circumstances, as well as the complete history of the objects. To determine the origin of an object, we need to consider the history of the society of origin, their customs, their worldview, their cults and rites as well as the path and the strategy of the collectors in order to build a geographic map of origin and migration of the objects. Beside all this, we also need to consider the live and worldview of the today society.


Drossilia Dikegue Igouwe, born May 2, 1985 in Port-Gentil, Gabon.
Native language is French, German at level C1, English and Spanish. After graduated with a bachelor’s degree at the Omar BONGO University in Libreville, Gabon, she studied Applied Intercultural Linguistics and Ethnology at the University of Augsburg, Germany, completing in 2018 with a master’s degree. May 2019, she started her PhD there on the thesis “Zwischen Partnerschaft und Restitution? Neubewertung zentralafrikanischer Objekte in der Lübecker Völkerkundesammlung”. From March until May 2020, she visited Gabon to prepare her field research in Central Africa.