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Periodical issue Periodical issue Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:El Negro and the Hottentot Venus: issues of repatriation
Periodical:Pula: Botswana Journal of African Studies (ISSN 0256-2316)
Geographic terms:South Africa
conference papers (form)
biographies (form)
About person:Sarah Baartman (c. 1789-1816)ISNI
Abstract:Two famous dead bodies of southern Africans were on public display in European museums for the best part of two centuries. The stuffed and dessicated body of Le Betjouana (born c. 1803, died 1830/1831) stood first in a Paris taxidermy emporium and later travelled to Spain, where it was displayed under the cognomen of El Negro for most of the 20th century. The skeleton, assorted body parts, and bloated plaster cast of the body of Sara Baartman (c. 1789-1816), known as 'La Venus hottentote', remained in Paris from her death in 1816 up to 2002. They were prime exhibits in the great national museums of Paris. This special issue contains papers read at a Workshop on the Repatriation of El Negro, convened by the Department of History at the University of Botswana, in May 2001. Three areas of academic interest were identified, viz. the growth and persistence of 'pseudo-scientific' racism; 19th and 20th-century Western developments in viewing the human body as a 'spectacle' and the increasing commodification of the display of human bodies; and different ideas in different times and cultures about the sanctity or profanity of the display of dead human beings. Contributions: Dead bodies on display: El Negro in cross-cultural perspective, by Bruce Bennett; Missing persons, stolen bodies and issues of patrimony: the El Negro story, by Alinah Kelo Segobye; One body playing many parts: le Betjouana, el Negro, and il Bosquimano, by Neil Parsons; More notes on the Verreaux brothers, by Miquel Molina; El Negro, el Niņo, witchcraft and the absence of rain, by Jan-Bart Gewald; The only good Bushman, by Kenneth Good; Repatriation, indigenous peoples, and development lessons from Africa, North America, and Australia, by Robert K. Hitchcock. [ASC Leiden abstract]