Private Project

Decolonizing the Conversation: A 10 part Web Series

For the web series please use the links for each video as follows:  All have the same password -- DTN2020

Password: DTN2020

The eighth of 10 episodes (all completed; with sub-titles in English, Spanish, and Portuguese). These episodes trace, the histories created by African classical culture (i.e. Benin cultural artifacts) and African Diaspora culture in the United States, Latin America and Europe. Current debates about reparations and restitution, have led to a political conversation about the place of African material culture in Western museums. In this series we discuss various aspects of African material culture in Western Museums.

My redesign of the Penn Museum Africa galleries is part of a project to engage in critically creative intervention in the way Africa objects have been exhibited. Essential objective in this redesign and various video productions seek to connect African stolen material culture with the African Diaspora resulting from the great European and Arab trades in enslaved African bodies. The way to de-fetishize African material culture in the West is to make this connection. It is not enough to simply discuss restitution without making this connection.

VISIT The Penn Museum Africa Galleries at:

  • Tukufu Zuberi
    "Before Things Fell Apart"; "African Independence"; "PBS History Detectives"
  • Tukufu Zuberi
    "Before Things Fell Apart"; "African Independence"; "PBS History Detectives"
  • Temitope Olutunmbi
    "Decolonizing the Narrative: From Maker to Museum"
  • Tukufu Zuberi
    "Before Things Fell Apart"; "African Independence"; "PBS History Detectives"
  • Project Type:
    Web / New Media
  • Completion Date:
    November 1, 2020
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Tukufu Zuberi
Distribution Information
  • Tukufu Zuberi
    Country: United States
Director Biography - Tukufu Zuberi

Tukufu Zuberi is the Lasry Family Professor of Race Relations at the University of Pennsylvania, museum curator, documentarian, and television host. Zuberi hosted the PBS HISTORY DETECTIVES. His first independent documentary, AFRICAN INDEPENDENCE, screened in festivals and won numerous awards. He curated the Penn Museum Africa Galleries (AFRICA GALLERIES FROM MAKER TO MUSEUM), and produced two new documentaries (BEFORE THINGS FELL APART; & DECOLONIZING THE NARRATIVE.)

From 2003 to 2014, Dr. Zuberi was a host of the hit Public Broadcasting System (PBS) series HISTORY DETECTIVES. In 2014, Dr. Zuberi returned as host and co-producer of the PBS series HISTORY DETECTIVES: Special Investigations. His documentary AFRICAN INDEPENDENCE, a feature-length documentary highlights the movements to win independence in Africa. His resent work consist of a feature-length documentary on the history of ancient Sudan entitled BEFORE THINGS FELL APART; and his short documentary DECOLONIZING THE NARRATIVE (first in a series of three documentaries on Museums, Reparations; Restitution; and Race). And the companion 10 wepisodes on DECOLONIZING THE NARRATIVE presented here for consideration.

Dr. Zuberi is the curator of several exhibitions. He curated TIDES OF FREEDOM: AFRICAN PRESENCE ON THE DELAWARE AT THE INDEPENDENCE SEAPORT MUSEUM. Using four key moments in Philadelphia's history representing the themes of Enslavement, Emancipation, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights, Tides of Freedom urges visitors both to bear witness to a story central to Philadelphia and American history, and to think about the meaning of "freedom" both historically and in today's world. His exhibition, BLACK BODIES IN PROPAGANDA: THE ART OF THE WAR POSTER premiered at the Penn Museum. The BLACK BODIES IN PROPAGANDA exhibit was also presented at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle, Washington, and at the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Also, Professor Zuberi curated the Penn Museum AFRICAN GALLERIES: FROM MAKER TO MUSEUM.

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Director Statement

The eighth in a series of 10 episodes on DECOLONIZING THE NARRATIVE about the redesign of the Penn Museum Africa galleries in conversation with curators, museum directors, merchants, and artist about African material culture.

University of Pennsylvania Professor, PBS History Detective, and curator of the Penn Museum Galleries, Tukufu Zuberi, pushes us to understand that a recovery of missing information and missing voices is central to our understanding of museum culture. Following brilliantly melodic journeys into intriguing places, Zuberi adds context through intimate portrayals of conversations with artists and curators that are relaxed and intriguing. The audience is given the space and time to understand the significance of each issue.