Visual and Material Culture: Course

Museums & Nationalism

Meiri Shmuel, Dr., Semester 1, Sunday, 10:30-12:00
Meiri Shmuel, Dr., Semester 2, Sunday, 10:30-12:00
"Census, Map and Museum" are three essential markers in the making of a nation state according to Benedict Anderson in his book Imagined Communities (1991). This proseminar will focus on the role of museums in the process. The course will demonstrate how all the various disciplines, from science to art, from history to technology are employed in the museum in the process of building and forging national ethos, signs and symbols.Case studies will include:The role museums play in the formation of new nationalism or renewed nationalism, as in the case of the nation states once comprising the Soviet Union or the former Yugoslavia.Museums in multinational and multicultural states.The role of the 'victim mentality' in the nation's museums. The case of Israeli nationalism and its representation in museums will be dealt with great details. The (failed) attempts to build historical museums that seek to reflect consensus in the divided Israeli society with its multitude of narratives.The 'hegemonic voice', the politicization of museums and 'anti-nationalism' in the museums discourse in Israel will be highlighted.