Clémentine Deliss, “The Metabolic Museum” (Hatje Cantz, 2020)

In The Metabolic Museum (Hatje Cantz, 2020), Clémentine Deliss, a curator, researcher, and former director of the Frankfurt Weltkulturen Museum, explores possible functions for anthropological museums in a postcolonial culture. Anthropological museums in Europe, as products of imperialism, have been compelled to legitimate themselves because the very basis of their exhibitions, the history of their collections, came about all too often through colonial appropriation and outright theft.

In this book, Deliss addresses this reality for enthographic or world culture museums in Europe, exploring the possible futures for these institutions. Connecting to reflections on her own work as the director of the Frankfurt Weltkulturen Museum with discussions of filmmakers, artists and authors to argue for an entity she calls the Metabolic Museum―an interventionist laboratory that opens up the potential of anthropological collections for the future.

Holiday Powers (@holidaypowers) is Assistant Professor of Art History at VCUarts Qatar. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary art in Africa and the Arab world, postcolonial theory, and gender studies.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Support our show by becoming a premium member!

Visit New Books in Anthropology for the podcast. There is something wrong with this RSS-feed. Lorenz,