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Von Hügel Lecture 2017

Prof. Kavita Singh, (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Dehli) - Museums, Heritage, Culture: Into the Conflict Zone
When Mar 28, 2017
from 05:30 PM to 06:30 PM
Where Mill Lane Lecture Theatre 3, Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX
Contact Name
Attendees This talk will be followed by drinks 6.45-7.45 pm at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
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Museums are material manifestations of one culture’s interest in another. As such, museums are often described as places that build bridges between cultures. But museums have been places of intercultural ‘mis’understandings as well. Drawing upon events that occurred in my neighbourhood - in India and in India’s neighbours in South Asia - I will discuss episodes in which museums or museum culture writ large caused tensions, anxieties, distrust and anger and precipitated crises between communities, cultures or nations.

In each instance, local groups offer resistance to a museal process that placed artworks within modern, secular frames. But on closer examination, what appeared to be a series of contestations between East and West, the powerful and the weak, secular and sacred, turned out to be embedded in complex local politics as well. Each of these clashes was not just an episode in the fraught relationship between East and West, but also as an instance where the trope of East and West was mobilized by one faction against another in a long history of
antagonisms within the East.



Professor Singh works at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru
University, New Delhi, where she teaches courses on the history of Indian painting and the history and politics of museums. She has published essays on issues of colonial history, repatriation, secularism and religiosity, fraught national identities, and the memorialisation of difficult histories as they relate to museums in THE MUSEUM OF ARCHAEOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY.


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