Duane Jethro

Research Affiliate, Dept African Studies and Linguistics at the University of Cape Town

I am a Junior Research Fellow at the Centre for Curating the Archive, based in the Michaelis School of Fine Art, at the University of Cape Town. My expertise lies in the analysis of the cultural construction of heritage and contested public cultures. I am trained in the study of religion and also work on intersections between museums, heritage, religion, the secular and the sacred.

My current project is a multiperspectival investigation of the loss and salvage of the University of Cape Town Jagger Library and its collections after a devastating fire in April 2021. I investigate the variable interpolations of loss and the multiple meanings of recovery that arise at the site. I co-curating the Jagger Library Memorial Exhibition (April 2022) with Michaelis Galleries curator Jade Nair, and organise a special symposium, After the Fire: loss, archive and African Studies, with my colleague Aliro Karina, postdoctoral research fellow at the Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative.

Prior to this, I worked as a researcher at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage, CARMAH, at the Humboldt University, founded and directed by Professor Sharon Macdonald. CARMAH was established in the Department for European Ethnology at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in partnership with the Museum of Natural History Berlin and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, as part of the research award for Sharon Macdonald’s Alexander von Humboldt Professorship. My research into contested street names was situated in the research project, "Making Differences: Transforming Museums and Heritage in the 21st Century". I held a Georg Forster Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral research fellowship between 2017 and 2019 and I was also based at CARMAH.

A graduate of the University of Utrecht, I have published in the International Journal of Heritage Studies, Material Religion, African Diaspora and Tourist Studies. I am an editor of the journal Material Religion and serve on the editorial board of the journal Museums and Social Issues. I am an Associate Research Fellow at the Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative at the University of Cape Town. My book Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Aesthetics of Power is a cultural history of heritage and sense making in the post-apartheid dispensation.