Cultures of race and ethnicity at the museum: exploring post-imperial heritage practices

Tolia-Kelly, Divya P (2018) Cultures of race and ethnicity at the museum: exploring post-imperial heritage practices. Heritage, Culture and Identity . Routledge. ISBN 9781409426592 (Accepted)

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Engaging with archaeologists, as well as artists exploring the issue of 'race' representation, this book reviews the taxonomies and culture in place at national museums in Britain and New Zealand and considers a postcolonial account of curatorial practice. It argues that the current taxonomies are remnants of 19th century scientific racism which are now being revised at the British Museum, London and Te Papa, Wellington. Using research with two artist/curators and a live exhibition, the book proposes a new approach to race at the museum for the 21st century. As part of an ongoing exercise in assessing the place of critical race theory within a museum context, the book's author curated an exhibition entitled "An Archaeology of Race" from July 2009-Jan 2011. She co-curated this exhibition with Kahutoi Te Kanawa and Rosanna Raymond, two art practitioners - one Polynesian and the other Maori - whose work confronts the general exclusion of their own art and their societies' cultural heritage from modern accounts of art, and the delimitation of it to an 'ethnographic' categorisation of everyday cultural artifacts. The book is in three sections. Section one is based on questions of race within an archaeological case study of an UNESCO world heritage site of Hadrian's Wall. Representation of race in the archaeological, historical and curatorial accounts is examined through the Emperor Septimius Severus, the very first African Imperial ruler of the Roman Empire, including Britain. Collaborating with artist Rosanna Raymond, the author uses an ethnographic approach in Section Two to examine how the museum presents a naturalization of race discourse when exhibiting South Sea Islanders, and Polynesians both within and without Britain. The racialisation of Polynesian culture, art and life is critiqued through a project in the new galleries of the British museum. The final section of this book is based on the ethnography of the artist Kahutoi Te Kanawa and her own critique of the racialisation of Maori culture and art which is located in the colonial legacy of Captain Cook and the museum cultures in the UK and Aotearoa.

Item Type: Book
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2018 08:41
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2022 16:01
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