Project Researchers

Irene Hilden

© Michelle Mantel

As CARMAH’s research manager, my role is to support director Sharon Macdonald in the strategic development of the centre and its research projects.

Previously, I was a postdoctoral researcher in the sub-project Realizations and Reception in the Humboldt Forum as part of CARMAH’s major project Making Differences. Transforming Museums and Heritage in the 21st Century.

My research is concerned with Germany’s colonial past and present, with transnational mobilities and the unequal structures of colonial entanglements throughout history. Being interested in (sound) collections and museum displays allows me to explore both tangible and intangible colonial legacies. While the debate surrounding the Humboldt Forum served as a framework for my doctoral research, embedding my ethnographic and archival studies in broader contexts, my subsequent work investigated the reception of the Forum and its opening exhibitions.

I studied cultural history and theory, European ethnology, and German studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Istanbul University. For my doctoral research, I became a fellow of the Research Training Group minor cosmopolitanisms at the University of Potsdam and joined Humboldt University’s Institute for European Ethnology. As a guest researcher, I spent time at Delhi University’s Department of Sociology.

My doctoral project, entitled “Absent Presences in the Colonial Archive. Dealing with the Acoustic Legacies of the Berlin Lautarchiv”, examined the archive as a metropolitan institution that produces and preserves colonial structures of power and knowledge. By paying special attention to the historical situation in which particular sound recordings were produced according to prescribed and scripted modes of speaking, my analysis countered these historical situations with contemporary modes of listening that I employed to side-step the archive’s normative logics.


Research Expertise and Interests

Critical Museum & Heritage Research

Historical Anthropology | Anthropology of Europe

Sonic Anthropology | Sound Studies

Sound Archives | Archival Theory

Collective Memory | Memory Studies

Intersectionality | Postcolonial Theory