Contesting Memory: Museumizations of Migration in Comparative Global Context | OKCIR: Omar Khayyam Center for Integrative Research
This Fall 2011 (IX, 4) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, entitled “Contesting Memory: Museumizations of Migration in Comparative Global Context,” includes papers from the conference on “Museums and Migration” organized by the volume co-editors on June 25-26, 2010, at the Maison des Science de l’Homme (MSH) in Paris. The focus here is on questions of representation and social agency of both migrants and migration museum officials, adopting a comparative perspective on the complex and conflictive articulation between how migrants are represented by themselves and by museum institutions. Migrants are not passive but social agents actively involved in their communities and socially vigilant of the way they are treated, perceived and represented by the host society. They produce also their own representations that are often in conflict with Western hegemonic perceptions of their cultures and identities. Their strong presence in global cities and metropolitan societies today confronts the dominant society with issues of racial/ethnic discrimination and historical memory otherwise ignored by hegemonic Western views. Museums dealing with the history of slavery, migration and colonialism emerged as spaces of contestation, the term “migrant” itself being contested by long-established “minority” groups as one of the ways the dominant society still treats them as “foreigners” and “immigrants.” [read more ... ]