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Tania Mancheno: What is the Sound of a Monument? Soundscapes of Decolonial Memories in Hamburg

Conference: Counter-Monuments and Para-Monuments(WiSe 21/22)

What is the sound of a monument? Can oral history be transformed into a memorial and if so, what language would it speak? Departing from the Koselleckian idea that national heritage is nowhere neutral and always fragmental, and Francoise Vergès’ conception of national history as a transcontinental construction, in this presentation I will discuss the possibilities of decolonizing sites of colonial heritage in the city. To this end, I will first briefly introduce Koselleck’s and Vergès’ critiques on monuments by applying their arguments to selected examples in the city of Hamburg. In a second step, I will present my activist research and ongoing artistic projects, which seek to build soundscapes of decolonial memories. I will mainly focus on the collective affective cartography “What Does Hamburg Mean to You?” (Was bedeutet Hamburg für Dich?), which consists of a series of interviews with critical non-hegemonic and diasporic voices of Hamburg, and The Crack Between the Lion’s Feet (Der Riss zwischen den Löwenfüßen, 2020), which is an acoustic intervention in the city’s anthropological museum. Both features can be visited prior to the presentation at the following locations: and

Tania Mancheno is an affiliate researcher at the Research Center for Hamburg’s (Post)Colonial Legacy at the University of Hamburg, where she has also taught in the field of social sciences on postcolonial theory and decolonial thought since 2009. Her research is focused on urban space and violence, colonial history, and the analysis of its local and transnational consequences from a feminist perspective from the Global South. Currently, Dr. Mancheno is a member of DAICOR and of the German-American Working Group on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Her coming publication is an essay entitled Beyond coloniality in world heritage: Countermapping the colonial amnesia in Parisian landscapes.

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