CFP: Memory work and politics of representation in Greater China
Call for papers:
*Museums as contested terrains: Memory work and politics of representation
in Greater China*
Art, Materiality and Representation conference held by the Royal
Anthropological Institute, 1-3 June 2018
Suvi Rautio (University of Helsinki)
Zhang Lisheng (University College London)
Our panel explores the role of museums in the Greater China Region. Taking
an ethnographic approach to studying museums across both state official and
private domains, we seek to examine the social and political dynamics that
come into play in representations of the past.
Whilst placing nationalism at the core of political ideology is not unique
to the Chinese Communist Party, the weight of cultural importance through a
shared national identity has become increasingly dominant in China's
'heritage boom' over the past decade.
Implemented as pedagogical spaces across the country, museums play a key
role in the 'cultural development' strategy of the Chinese government, a
project of 'governance and social ordering' to assert the political
legitimacy of the party-state (Denton 2014; Varutti 2014). In studying
these spaces and the actors that inhabit or come to exert them, museums
become contested terrains where ideas, values and powers are competed for.
In the meantime, private initiatives to preserve and represent the past
have been a notable phenomenon in China. As such, museums are also memory
spaces that communicate the historical narratives of individuals through
arts, private collections, genealogies, archives, and cultivated
landscapes. The establishment and maintenance of such spaces, although
framed 'locally', are shaped by overlapping and conflicting moral,
political and commercial objectives that always go beyond their localities.
This panel seeks to critically examine the diverse museum practices in both
official and private domains of the Greater China Region. We welcome papers
that ethnographically explore the dynamic social and political trajectories
that frame and sustain museums. In doing so, our panel brings forth
discussions to challenge often taken for granted binary frameworks, such as
'global/local' and 'state/private' in representations of the past.
Please provide a 300 word abstract proposal by January 8th, 2018, to
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Thank you
Link to panel
Royal Anthropological Institute Conference - Art, Materiality and
Representation - British Museum, 1-3 June 2018