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Kylie Message and Sandra H. Dudley

Whether or not museums can live up to the ideal that they provide a public forum has become something of a moot point, if not a stereotype of the past three decades. Museum studies researchers, scholars, and professionals have been proactive in their attempts to understand whether museums can or do provide a physical manifestation of what has been generally considered an aspirational concept or model of practice. Some have been directly inspired by philosophers and sociologists such as Jürgen Habermas (1991), Nancy Fraser (1990), and Craig Calhoun (1992), as well as the critical cultural studies “movements” that have circulated around interdisciplinary journals such as Theory, Culture and Society (http://tcs.sagepub.com/) and Public Culture (http://www.publicculture.org/). Others have drawn on current and emerging directions in disciplines such as anthropology, history, and geography to explore the public sphere concept from the perspective of transnational and postcolonial concerns, and have been influenced by theorists including Seyla Benhabib (1992), Arjun Appadurai (1996), Dipesh Chakrabarty (2000), and Aihwa Ong (2006). Ultimately, of course, much of the museum-focused work—within which we include both the theoretical and the applied (for example, exhibition-based)—has been interdisciplinary. Like the wider critical debates on which it draws and to which it contributes, museum scholarship has been aff ected by ongoing global change, and has reflected—and, in many national contexts, influenced—public policy shifts before and since the new millennium.

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Lourdes Prados Torreira

, androcentric stereotypes are conveyed and reflected, in most cases without any scientific grounding. Not only are spaces dedicated to women in archaeological museums usually limited to domestic settings, but in addition these essential tasks relating to the

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Engaging Dialogues

Reframing Africa at the Royal Ontario Museum

Silvia Forni

, senior management, and community partners. 4 While the first iteration of our proposal initially was aimed quite directly at the creation of an exhibition that would challenge and contrast the stereotypes and primitivistic imagination of Africa, the

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Margareta von Oswald and Verena Rodatus

insider-and-outsider position. We began by taking a critical look at the museum’s permanent exhibition Art from Africa (2005−2016). 6 That exhibition had been devised to break with stereotypical representations of Africa in ethnological museums. The

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Steamships to Suffragettes

A Case Study of Interpretative Museology, Public Engagement, and Digital Development

Nicolas Bigourdan, Kevin Edwards, and Michael McCarthy

communities to increase self-determination … [and] … have the potential to promote tolerance, intercommunity respect and to challenges stereotypes.” In this context the SS Xantho exhibition has sought (while facing structural and financial constraints

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Repatriation as Inspiration

Multigenerational Perspectives on American Archaeology-Museum Relationships

April M. Beisaw and Penelope H. Duus

Tribal Museum. She argued that museums were the place to banish stereotypes by reinforcing “the cultural identity of the tribe, particularly for the benefit of youngsters” ( Simpson 1996: 136 ). Not everyone was convinced. A reviewer pushed back, arguing