Oral Presentation Session - Invited Status Awarded
Invited by: Council for Museum Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students, Those Involved in Mentoring Activities
Primary Theme: Inclusivity
Secondary Theme: Teaching
Museums are uniquely situated in the intersection between the academy and the public. Their role spans from the preservation of collections to the mobilization of objects, people, and ideas through research, exhibits, and outreach. As a result, disparate perspectives emerge from the museum concept—as one in a conflict between states of stasis and flux, and between the stabilizing and mobilizing of history, things and culture. Museum are also viewed as institutions caught up in cultural wars over who owns whose culture. What is often missing from the discussion is how these particular and challenging dynamics fuel both debate and creative solutions. With growing attention to both tangible and intangible cultural heritage, museums are sites for the anthropology of language revitalization, performance studies, and community collaborations. This panel presents a series of experimental approaches—from collaborative methods to community radio programs, and from interdisciplinary teaching to art interventions. We address the motivation and intentions behind these projects, as well as patterns that indicate the trajectory of museum anthropology, and its value as an experimental catalyst for the wider discipline of anthropology. Finally, we consider barriers to change and the importance of understanding the concept of risk and how it helps anthropologists identify otherwise unquestioned and unexplored social and political contexts.