Martin Berger is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Archaeology and a member of the interdisciplinary research group Museums, Collections, and Society. His research interests include (etnographic) museums and collections histories, indigenous forms of representation, and the impact of globalization on indigenous cultures. He has explored these interests with specific attention to Mesoamerica and Surinam.
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Martin studied Latin American Archaeology and Ethnography at Leiden University. He obtained his PhD at Leiden in 2016, with the dissertation From Ollamaliztli to Pelota Mixteca and beyond : the role of globalization in the historical development of an indigenous Mexican ballgame. Before coming to Leiden University he spent ten years as a curator for the Middle and South American collections of the Dutch National Museum of World Cultures (NMWC). At the NMWC he curated numerous exhibitions, including A World of Feathers (NME Leiden 2016, Afrikamuseum 2017, Museum of World Cultures Göteborg 2018, Ethnographic Museum Stockholm 2018), The Afterlives of Slavery (Tropenmuseum, 2017-2020), and Aztecs (Linden-Museum Stuttgart 2019, Weltmuseum Wien 2020, NME Leiden 2021).
Currently, Martin’s research focuses on the international art market for pre-Columbian Mesoamerican pieces in the twentieth century, and the use and cultural meaning of turquoise in pre-Colonial Mesoamerica. For this research, he held fellowships at Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection (Summer Fellowship, 2014), Yale University /IPCH (Short-Term Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2017), and the Getty Research Institute (Invited Guest Research 2020, postponed because of COVID-19). Parts of his research were financed by a European Commission CHARISMA grant (2011) and a European Commission IPERION-CH grant (2018).