Anthropology | Exhibiting Cultures
E663 | 27083 | Girshick

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.