1st Edition

Contested Representations Revisiting 'Into the Heart of Africa'

By Shelly R. Butler Copyright 1999
    152 Pages
    by Routledge

    148 Pages
    by Routledge

    The controversy surrounding the significant "Into the Heart of Africa" exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada is explored in this compelling and analytical text. The exhibit has become an international, controversial touchstone for issues surrounding the politics of visual representation, such as the challenges to curatorial and ethnographic authority in multicultural and postcolonial contexts. Asking why the museum's exhibit failed so many people, the author examines such issues as institutional politics, the broad political and intellectual climate surrounding museums, the legacies of colonialism and traditions of representation of Africa, and the politics of irony.
    By drawing upon anthropological and cultural criticism, the book offers a unique account of the ways in which an ambiguous exhibit about colonialism became the site of an expansiveInto the Heart of Africa."

    1. INTO THE HEART OF AFRICA AND THE STATUS QUO: The Status Quo, Toward a Reflexive Museology, Re-presenting Imperialism: A Personal Walk Through the Exhibit After the Fact 2. Museums, Contradictions of Resistance, Racism and Multiculturalism 3. VARIOUS POSITIONS: RESPONSES TO THE COALITION FOR THE TRUTH ABOUT AFRICA: Authority at/of the ROM, Classroom Confrontations, Media 4. Conclusions, The Black Community: Protest and Process, Victims and Victimization, Outcomes 5. ENTERING THE DEBATES: Coming Into the Field, Museum Ethnography 6. THE COALITION FOR THE TRUTH ABOUT AFRICA: STRATEGIES AND CHALLENGES: Performing Resistance, The Politics of Contestation, Democratizing 8. PRELUDE TO THE CONTROVERSY: The Ambiguity of Irony, Power Relations and Public Culture, The Politics of Consultation


    Shelley Ruth Butler