Contesting Human Remains in Museum Collections: The Crisis of Cultural Authority
Simultaneously published in the UK --T.p. verso.
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Full details for this title
|Library of Congress
||Human remains (Archaeology), Cultural property - Repatriation, Human remains (Archaeology) - Repatriation, Indigenous peoples - Antiquities - Collection and preservation, Cultural property - Moral and ethical aspects
|Number of Pages
Description of this Book
Museums have displayed and researched human remains since the eighteenth century, but in the last three decades skeletons and body parts have become subject to high-profile claims and controversies. From the late 1980s indigenous groups, radical archaeologists, anthropologists, and museum professionals campaigned for the repatriation of human remains to culturally affiliated groups who had suffered from colonization. The demands for return have however been fiercely contested by those who research the material professionally and consider it to be unique evidence.
This book charts the influences at play on the contestation over human remains and examines the construction of this problem from a cultural perspective. The academic and popular literature interprets changes to museums as a result of external factors. By drawing on empirical research including extensive interviews with the claims-making groups, ethnographic work, document, media, and policy analysis, Contesting Human Remains in Museum Collections demonstrates that strong internal influences do in fact exist a laying bare the neglected but significant importance of the profession in constructing the issue. The only book to examine the construction of contestation over human remains from a sociological perspective, Contesting Human Remains advances an emerging area of academic research, setting the terms of debate, synthesizing disparate ideas, and making sense of a broader cultural focus on dead bodies in the contemporary period.
Awards & Reviews
||'this is an excellent and detailed introduction to an important topic in the museum field today.' -- Annette Rein, ICOM News
Dr Tiffany Jenkins is arts and society director of the London based think-tank, the Institute of Ideas. She is a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics and a member of the Working Group on Cultural Property and Heritage Law. She writes and comments for the national media on cultural matters.