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Workshop "Museum in Global History"

05.10.2015 | 14:00 - 18:30

Academics and professionals today are trying to embrace and reflect the 21st century vision of a world that is global and diverse. The periodization of the past and categorizations in previous writings of history are being questioned. Similar questions are being addressed in museums as well. Museums are often criticized for reaffirming and enforcing binary categorizations of the world such as the West and the East, Europe and Asia, etc., by organizing objects into a certain manner. In the past few years, there has been much debate and discussion around the world on how museum exhibitions can be changed to better reflect the reality of a world that is more global and diverse than ever before.

It is therefore suggested that researchers of global history should pay more attention to the history of the museum. The main focus is on the historical context in which the idea of the museum was translated and spread in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Examining the ways in which the museum, as a concept and as an institution, was introduced in different parts of the world provides us an opportunity to reconsider the concepts of “art”, “culture”, and how the culture of “others” is defined.

Generally speaking, it is argued that the idea of the museum originated in European countries. Europe is inevitably in the concept of the "museum," just as it is in the concept of "nation" or "religion". The tendency to place non-Western cultures in the category of “other” cultures still persists. This does not mean that the application of the concept is any more uniform within Europe than outside of it. The workshop, by inviting presenters specializing in the history of museums or equivalent cultural institutions in different regions, highlights the fact that museums have evolved based on local as well as global conditions. Accordingly, what is presented as the “other” differs from place to place.

The presenters will also discuss the actors involved in the making of museums, the relationship between museums and the state, and audiences to whom museums cater, etc. The general discussion to follow the presentations will address a number of key issues, including the study of museums in the context of global history, boundaries among cultures, and the possibility of writing global histories without creating a category of “others.”

To view the workshop's program click here.

Zeit & Ort

05.10.2015 | 14:00 - 18:30

Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin, Koserstraße 20, 14195 Berlin, Raum A 320

Reaching the People