With the online magazine “Latitude”, the Goethe-Institut provides a platform for global discourse on colonial power relations, their consequences and how to overcome them. In interviews, essays and a range of other formats, the magazine highlights issues such as decolonisation, preservation of indigenous cultures, the role of museums, restitution and dealing with cultural heritage.

The global exchange on postcolonial issues is essential for coming to terms with colonial power relations, critically examining the postcolonial world order and the role of museums and their implications. The discourse is not limited to the relations between the former colonising and colonised countries; it delves deeper into recognising, questioning, and overcoming the privileges that derive from the colonial circumstances. Through Latitude the Goethe-Institut enables protagonists and actors from different countries have their say in order to tell a story that is as diverse as it is complex.

The term “latitude”

“Latitude” refers to the cartographic concept of a demarcation line in relation to the equator, which is also accompanied by a distinction between southern and northern parallels. By means of this division, the term indicates associatively the inequality with respect to power relations: the imposition of the systematic power of many countries of the global North over the regions of the South. For a more positive interpretation, our online magazine suggests linking the term “latitude” to the concept of freedom, outside the static division between North and South. By contrast, the aim is to promote a global and “free” exchange that enables an equal relationship among all actors. The online magazine Latitude is such a space for respectful sharing - cultural, political, economic and aesthetic.

Building on networks

Launched in September 2019, the online magazine puts together a wide range of discussions in collaboration with experts from science, culture and art. New focal points are regularly set with regard to the discourses. Writers, such as Cidinha da Silva from Brazil and Philipp Khabo Koepsell from Germany, have written essays on “black literature” and its positioning in the global literary scene. The constantly growing number of voices represented in Latitude can be accessed via the index of experts, which makes the contributors visible and enables the experts to connect with one other. In addition, ideas and findings from many Goethe-Institut projects on decolonisation and post-colonial power relations flow into the magazine's narratives.

Multifaceted discourse

The topics on Latitude range from the return of illegally acquired art objects to the communities of origin and the decolonisation of museums as well as the redefinition of power relations between the West and the Global South and the realignment of postcolonial development cooperation. For example, the handling of controversial art objects from former colonies is examined from different perspectives by experts, those that demand unconditional repatriations and others who propose a broader spectrum of alternative approaches to cooperation between the former colonies and the colonial powers. These debates are necessary for fostering a decolonised and anti-racist world.

We would like to emphasise that the articles published in Latitude represent the opinion of the authors and do not in any way reflect the position of the Goethe‑Institut. The magazine offers a platform for open discourse and exchange of views in a respectful manner.

The editorial team