Anthropology | Exhibiting Cultures
E663 | 25435 | Girshick


EXHIBITING CULTURES

Graduate Standing or permission of instructor.

The modern museum has come a long way since its emergence in the
nineteenth century as a "cabinet of curiosities." Instead of merely
displaying objects, museum exhibits today draw on recent scholarship
in art, literary criticism, and social history to offer broad
interpretations about the origins, meaning and value of objects, as
well as theories about the thoughts and behavior of the people who
made them and used them....The transformation of the museum from
reliquary to forum has forced curators to reassess their role as
cultural custodians. Increasingly, curators must ask if museums retain
the responsibility of validating and confirming tradition, who has the
authority to interpret history to the public -- indeed, who "owns"
history?

A. Henderson & A. Kaeppler (eds).
1996. Exhibiting Dilemmas, 1-2.

This course will explore the ideas, values and symbols that pervade
and shape the practice of exhibiting other cultures. It will examine
the ways in which museums and other sites of exhibition accord objects
particular significances, the politics of exhibitions and display
strategies, and the interpretive differences between art, anthropology
and other types of museums and institutions which exhibit other cultures.

Requirements for this course: two research papers and class presentations.