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BLIND SPOTS IN MUSEUM ANTHROPOLOGY: Ancient Egypt in the Ethnographic Museum

Stevenson, Alice; Williams, Alice; (2022) BLIND SPOTS IN MUSEUM ANTHROPOLOGY: Ancient Egypt in the Ethnographic Museum. Museum Anthropology 10.1111/muan.12258. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

In the past few decades, the literature in museum anthropology has advocated efforts to be more transparent about its colonial origins, address the historical injustices of imperial collecting, and rethink display narratives in collaboration with source communities. In this paper, however, we question the extent to which the epistemic and political predicaments underlying ethnographic representations are being fundamentally and systematically confronted. As we highlight with the example of ancient Egyptian material, it is apparent that significant parts of museum holdings remain freighted by unquestioned colonial and Eurocentric discourses. We employ a case study of the Egyptian material redisplayed in the “World Cultures” gallery of the Horniman Museum, London, to demonstrate how the ethnographic museum continues to unwittingly produce “silences” around collections. To redress the lacunae we provide examples of the way in which this body of material could be more meaningfully integrated within museological discourses that have informed the rethinking of other aspects of world culture.

Type: Article
Title: BLIND SPOTS IN MUSEUM ANTHROPOLOGY: Ancient Egypt in the Ethnographic Museum
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/muan.12258
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/muan.12258
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Museum Anthropology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Anthropological Association. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: ancient Egypt, colonialism, Horniman Museum
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10153061
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