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Academic Anthropology and the Museum: Back to the Future

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Overview

The book's central argument is well made. · Museum National

...focuses on anthropologists, but the consideration given to the relations between academic and museum worlds will be useful to any scholar with current affiliations or aspirations to engage with museum culture. In terms of the volume's original intent, as a work responding to the needs of those teaching and studying anthro-museology, it is an impressive accomplishment. · Anthropologica

The museum boom, with its accompanying objectification and politicization of culture, finds its counterpart in the growing interest by social scientists in material culture, much of which is to be found in museums. Not surprisingly, anthropologists in particular are turning their attention again to museums, after decades of neglect, during which fieldwork became the hallmark of modern anthropology - so much so that the "social" and the "material" parted company so radically as to produce a kind of knowledge gap between historical collections and the intellectuals who might have benefitted from working on these material representations of culture. Moreover it was forgotten that museums do not only present the "pastness" of things. A great deal of what goes on in contemporary museums is literally about planning the shape of the future: making culture materialize involves mixing things from the past, taking into account current visions, and knowing that the scenes constructed will shape the perspectives of future generations. However, the (re-)invention of museum anthropology presents a series of challenges for academic teaching and research, as well as for the work of cultural production in contemporary museums - issues that are explored in this volume.

Mary Bouquet teaches Cultural Anthropology and Museum Studies at Utrecht University College. Her publications include Bringing It All Back Home to the Oslo University Ethnographic Museum , published by Scandinavian University Press (1996).

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Jean-Pierre Boulé is Professor of Contemporary French Studies at the Nottingham Trent University. He is the author of Sartre médiatique (1992) and has also written books on Hervé Guibert Guibert and on AIDS literature in France. His last book was HIV Stories: The Archaeology of AIDS Writing in France (2002). He is the co-founder of the UK Society for Sartrean Studies, and has given papers at Sartre conferences in Canada, France, The United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
Contributors
Acknowledgements
1 Introduction: Academic anthropology and the Museum. Back to the Future 1
Pt. I Anthropological encounters with the post-colonial museum
2 The photological apparatus and the desiring machine. Unexpected congruences between the Koninklijk Museum, Tervuren and the Umista Centre, Alert Bay 18
3 Picturing the museum: photography and the work of mediation in the Third Portuguese Empire 36
4 On the pre-museum history of Baldwin Spencer's collection of Tiwi artefacts 55
Pt. II Ethnographic museums and ethnographic museology 'at home'
5 Anthropology at home and in the museum: the case of the Musee National des Arts et Traditions Populaires in Paris 76
6 'Does anthropology need museums?' Teaching ethnographic museology in Portugal, Thirty Years Later 92
Pt. III Science museums as an ethnographic challenge
7 Towards an ethnography of museums: science, technology and us 106
8 Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum, London. Knowing, making and using 117
Pt. IV Anthropologists as cultural producers
9 Unsettling the meaning: critical museology, art and anthropological discourse 142
10 Inside out: cultural production in the museum and the academy 142
11 The art of exhibition making as a problem of translation 177
Pt. V Looking ahead
12 Why post-millennial museums will need fuzzy guerrillas 200
Bibliography 212
Index 231
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