Museums are key cultural loci of our times. They are symbols and sites for the playing out of social relations of identity and difference, knowledge and power, theory and representation. These are issues at the heart of contemporary anthropology, sociology and cultural studies. This volume brings together original contributions from international scholars to show how social and cultural theory can bring new insight to debate about museums. Analytical perspectives on the museum are drawn from the anthropology and sociology of globalization, time, space and consumption, as well as from feminism, psychoanalysis, experimental ethnography and literary theory. These perspectives are brought to bear on questions of museums' changing role and position in the representation of the nation-state, of community, and of gender, class and ethnicity. The examples in this book are drawn from different kinds of museum around the world, and include significant controversial and experimental exhibitions; the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian; feminist exhibitions in Scandinavia; the National Museum of Sri Lanka; Victorian art at the Tate; the representation of race at Colonial Williamsburg and of colonialism and identity in Canada.
Die Autorinnen und Autoren dieses Bandes gehen davon aus, dass Geschichtskultur, wie sie in Museen und historischen Ausstellungen vermittelt wird, Vergangenheit nicht abbildet, sondern deutet und konstruiert. Sie präsentieren neue konstruktivistische Ansätze der Darstellung von Geschichte und erläutern, auf welche Weise sie für die Geschichtskultur in Museen, Ausstellungen und Medien genutzt werden können
Bringing together scholars and practitioners from North America, Europe, Russia, and Australia, this pioneering volume provides a global survey of how museums address religion and charts a course for future research and interpretation. Contributors from a variety of disciplines and institutions explore the work of museums from many perspectives, including cultural studies, religious studies, and visual and material culture. Most museums throughout the world – whether art, archaeology, anthropology or history museums – include religious objects, and an increasing number are beginning to address religion as a major category of human identity. With rising museum attendance and the increasingly complex role of religion in social and geopolitical realities, this work of stewardship and interpretation is urgent and important. Religion in Museums is divided into six sections: museum buildings, reception, objects, collecting and research, interpretation of objects and exhibitions, and the representation of religion in different types of museums. Topics covered include repatriation, conservation, architectural design, exhibition, heritage, missionary collections, curation, collections and display, and the visitor's experience. Case studies provide comprehensive coverage and range from museums devoted specifically to the diversity of religious traditions, such as the State Museum of the History of Religion in St Petersburg, to exhibitions centered on religion at secular museums, such as Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam, at the British Museum.
While much has been written on the history of psychiatry, remarkably little has been written about psychiatric collections or curating. Exhibiting Madness in Museums offers a comparative history of independent and institutional collections of psychiatric objects in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom. Leading scholars in the field investigate collectors, collections, their display, and the reactions to exhibitions of the history of insanity. Linked to the study of medical museums this work broadens the study of the history of psychiatry by investigating the significance and importance of the role of twentieth-century psychiatric communities in the preservation, interpretation and representation of the history of mental health through the practice of collecting. In remembering the asylum and its different communities in the twentieth century, individuals who lived and worked inside an institution have struggled to preserve the physical character of their world. This collection of essays considers the way that collections of objects from the former psychiatric institution have played a role in constructions of its history. It historicises the very act of collecting, and also examines ethical problems and practices which arise from these activities for curators and exhibitions.
The assumption that museum exhibitions, particularly those concerned with science and technology, are somehow neutral and impartial is today being challenged both in the public arena and in the academy. The Politics of Display brings together studies of contemporary and historical exhibitions and contends that exhibitions are never, and never have been, above politics. Rather, technologies of display and ideas about 'science' and 'objectivity' are mobilized to tell stories of progress, citizenship, racial and national difference. The display of the Enola Gay, the aircraft which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima is a well-known case in point. The Politics of Display charts the changing relationship between displays and their audience and analyzes the consequent shift in styles of representation towards interactive, multimedia and reflexive modes of display. The Politics of Display brings together an array of international scholars in the disciplines of sociology, anthropology and history. Examples are taken from exhibitions of science, technology and industry, anthropology, geology, natural history and medicine, and locations include the United States of America, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands and Spain. This book is an excellent contribution to debates about the politics of public culture. It will be of interest to students of sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, museum studies and science studies.
The role of museums in creating and maintaining both cultural identities and their stereotypes is an area of debate and discourse in both archaeology and museology. Despite the long history of the collection and public display of Islamic material there has been no systematic research into either its representation or into public perceptions of these representations. This programme of research represents the first such study of the representation of Islamic material culture in British museums. This commences with the discussion and evaluation of the history of contact between the Islamic world and Europe in general and Britain in particular. Much of the history of this discourse is framed in terms of supra-regional identity, i.e. 'European' and 'Islamic' or 'Muslim'. These are constructed identities and the history of their construction is discussed before moving on to consider contemporary issues. In addressing the subject of the representation of Islam in museums, this work undertakes to examine both its production and consumption. The production of representation and the creation of identity are achieved in museums through the medium of the display of material, whilst consumption occurs through the medium of visiting and the meaning made by visitors. In order to evaluate such production displays of Islamic material in museums are the subject of critical analysis. This research has a qualitative element and seeks to tap into the perceptions of museum visitors of current museum displays. Given the role played by museums in the construction of identity the questions underpinning this are firstly, what are the messages they receive about the world of Islam and secondly, what do these displays say about the Islamic world past and present?
Now available in paperback, Davalos offers a richly detailed study of exhibition practices among Mexican American museums and cultural centers, grounding the analysis in both aesthetic and political contexts.
Die Achtundsechziger polarisieren noch immer. Heinz Bude hat mit Männern und Frauen gesprochen, die damals dabei waren. Gemeinsam ist ihnen der Aufbruch aus der Kindheit zwischen Ruinen in eine Welt des befreiten Lebens. Aber Adorno gab ihnen auf den Weg, dass es einem umso schwerer wird, sich in der Gesellschaft nützlich zu machen, je mehr man von der Gesellschaft versteht. Mit einer trostlosen Vergangenheit im Rücken wollten sie die Gesellschaft verändern, um ein eigenes Leben zu finden. 50 Jahre nach der Revolte ist es an der Zeit zu verstehen, wie viel Privates seinerzeit das Politische bewegte: Heinz Bude, einer der besten Kenner der deutschen Gesellschaft, zieht Bilanz.
Giambattista Vico (1668-1744) was one of the most original and idiosyncratic philosophers before Kant and Hegel. Although Giorgio Vasari had already diagnosed a cycle of rise, blossoming and decline in the history of art, Vico was the first to base this on a philosophical system. Isolated in Naples from direct contact with the philosophical life of his times, he worked at his grand design of the cycles of rise, blossoming, decline and eternal return which he saw in all areas of culture. His points of reference were ancient mythology and Greek and Roman history. To that extent, he is regarded today as the founder of the philosophy of history and the precursor of a tradition which extends to Hegel and Oswald Spengler's "Decline of the West".
In every culture, ideas and practices concerning the human body reflect what people think about the human person and his/her dignity. Contemporary cultural and medical-technical developments pose new questions to traditional attitudes to bodiliness. How can these questions be addressed from the perspective of intercultural ethics, in particular with regard to organ donation? Harm Goris is assistant professor of systematic theology at the Catholic Theological University at Utrecht (the Netherlands).

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