Museums, Postnational and Transcultural Identities in an Era of Cultural Dislocation

Rachel Houmphan

Abstract


In an age characterized by the massive scale interconnections and flows of people, it has been argued the notion of nationhood has become less adequate for explaining the identities of those who are more culturally and geographically fluid. This article seeks to explore how the museum, an anthropological enterprise traditionally premised on the notion of cultural difference, seeks to represent those identities which do are not so easily contained by coherent and discreet demarcations of culture and geography. The article argues that though the museum has roots in nation-state ideology and nation building, exhibitions such as African Worlds and the Transcultural Galleries, show that it is possible for the museum to articulate, represent and celebrate postnational, transcultural and hybrid identities through techniques that are fluid, ironic, reflexive, and emphasize identities in motion.



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