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Virginie Rey

This article presents an analysis of the evolution of ethnographic museums in Tunisia, tracing their development from the period of French colonial rule until the present. It documents and interprets the trajectory of museography in the country over nearly a century, demonstrating changes and continuities in role, setting and architecture across shifting ideological landscapes, from the colonial, to the postcolonial to the more recent revolutionary setting. It is argued that Tunisian ethnographic museums, both in their processes of conception behind the scenes and in their scenography itself, have been key sites in which to read debates about national identity. The article excavates the evolution of paradigms in which Tunisian popular identity has been expressed through the ethnographic museum, from the modernist notion of 'indigenous authenticity' to efforts at nation-building after independence, and more recent conceptions of cultural diversity. Based on a combination of archival research, participant observation and interviews with past and present protagonists in the Tunisian museum field, this research brings to light new material on an understudied area.

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Making Space for Jewish Culture in Polish Folk and Ethnographic Museums

Curating Social Diversity after Ethnic Cleansing

Erica Lehrer and Monika Murzyn-Kupisz

Polish countryside, prominent sociologist Jan Gross observed with consternation in 2016 that “[o]n the whole, you don't know, even if you look at the local ethnographic museums  … that there had been a Jewish population” in Poland's towns and villages

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Engaging Anthropological Legacies toward Cosmo-optimistic Futures?

Sharon Macdonald, Henrietta Lidchi, and Margareta von Oswald

address ethnographic museums’ legacies and how to play positive roles in contemporary social and political relations are already on the agenda of many ethnographic museums themselves, and have been so especially over the past decade. This has resulted in a

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Double erasures

Rewriting the past at the Musée du quai Branly*

Nélia Dias

The new millennium has been the point of departure for several important transformations in ethnographic museums throughout France. Focused on the Musée du quai Branly, the paper examines the main principles guiding its creation: the accent put on cultural diversity and the recognition of the equal value of different cultures. These concerns emerged in the context of a growing civic crisis as if through objects, museums attempt to palliate government policies and social exclusions. The paper also analyses the double erasure of the past within this museum: the colonial past as well as the history of the collections. Thus, Branly intends to be devoted to a new global cause, the promotion of cultural diversity in accordance with a number of declarations from UNESCO and other international bodies. By relegating ethnographic information to a secondary role, the Musée du quai Branly inaugurates a new model of museums in resonance with current political and ethical concerns and imposes new challenges on museum anthropology in particular and anthropology in general.

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Heterotopia or Carnival Site?

Rethinking the Ethnographic Museum

Jen Walklate

This article seeks to explore the Bakhtinian carnivalesque in relation to museums generally and to ethnographic museums in particular. The Bakhtinian carnivalesque is based on antihierarchicalism, laughter, embodiment, and temporality, and it has the potential to move museums away from a problematic association with heterotopia. Instead, the carnivalesque allows ethnographic museums to be recognized as active agents in the sociopolitical worlds around them, offers a lens through which to examine and move forward some current practices, and forces museums to reconsider their position and necessity. This article also reflects on the value of transdisciplinary approaches in museum studies, positioning literary theory in particular as a valuable analytical resource.

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Healing through Heritage?

The Repatriation of Human Remains from European Collections as Potential Sites of Reconciliation

Carsten Wergin

ethnographic museums and collections and other institutions to Indigenous communities in Australia. The hypothesis put forward is that initiatives that share a responsibility for human remains and cultural objects between former colonisers and colonised allow

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Are Museums Allowed to Keep a Secret?

Secret and Sacred Objects at the Weltmuseum Wien

Anna Bottesi

ethnographic museum. As Claudia Augustat remarks, separation between Indigenous objects and their places of origin does not imply they have lost their cultural, sacred, and spiritual value (2011). Although in their journey across the Atlantic other meanings

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Conjunctures and Convergences

Remaking the World Cultures Displays at the National Museum of Scotland

Henrietta Lidchi

ethnographic, museums, “objects” are the key vehicles by which difference, as well as commonness within difference, is imagined, constructed, narrated, and consumed. In recent years, to think of objects and museum collections in terms of their intertwined

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Greagh Smith, Conal McCarthy, Bronwyn Labrum, Ken Arnold, Dominique Poulot, Jill Haley, Jun Wei, and Safua Akeli Amaama

-researched set of case studies will serve as a useful reference for practitioners and researchers in the museum field. Jun Wei, Fudan University, Shanghai Refocusing Ethnographic Museums through Oceanic Lenses. Philipp Schorch with Noelle M. K. Y