The project analyses the sociopolitical and sociocultural effects of digitization projects on the basis of two case studies as it looks at Indian so-called ‘source communities and German-speaking heritage institutions. It explores how selected actors in India and Europe are brought together through new forms of archival knowledge transfer and examines how re-circulated images get entangled with dominant knowledge claims, and how emerging forms of knowledge are negotiated or visualised in post-ethnographic moments.
The theoretical basis is Clifford’s (1997) adaptation of Pratt’s contact zone concept to museums, and the idea of archives as potential tools of dialogue and communication (Zeitlyn 2012). The term contact zone is applied to digital collections and archives and enables an analysis of Internet-based appropriations regarding in their societal, political and historical framework. Digital archives are conceptualized here as extended social areas of action that are able to be the space of new negotiations on an intercultural level if working with transnational cultural heritage. They offer not only access to cultural heritage and means of cultural production, but also the possibility to scrutinize existing hierarchies and visual economies.