1st Edition

Pragmatic Imagination and the New Museum Anthropology

Edited By Christina J. Hodge, Christina Kreps Copyright 2024
    292 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Pragmatic Imagination and the New Museum Anthropology shifts museum anthropology’s relationship to the broader field from marginal to central by revealing the sophisticated transdisciplinary praxis (theory + practice) at the heart of current museum anthropologies. The book features international case studies that operate at the interfaces of critical museology, anthropology, material culture studies, art practice, and more. The theory of pragmatics proposes that meaning-making is collaborative and best evaluated through its impact in the world. Collectively the chapters in this volume evidence a ‘pragmatic imagination’ at work as museum anthropology practitioners ingeniously combine inventiveness (the possible) and practicality (the actual) in ways that drive the field forward. Defining museum anthropology as a pragmatic practice explicitly theorizes this work in order to mark its significance; demystify its processes of knowledge production; connect it more readily to debates within and beyond anthropology; and facilitate critique.


    1 Introduction

     Christina J. Hodge and Christina Kreps

    Part I Introduction Pragmatics of Documentation

    2 The Role of Indigenous Archives and Their Pragmatic Imaginings in the New Museum Anthropology

    Diana E. Marsh

    3 The Pragmatics of Decolonizing Metadata: Praxes of 3D Digitization

    Christina J. Hodge

    4 Alternative Voices and Images of Ecotourism from La Ventanilla, Mexico: Reflections on a Neopragmatist-inspired Approach to Participatory Action Museography

    W. Warner Wood

    Part II Introduction Pragmatics of Restitution

    5 Museum Anthropology in an Age of Reconciliation

    Cara Krmpotich

    6 A Pragmatic Approach to Reconciliation: Thoughts on Transforming Repatriation Practice

    Margaret M. Bruchac

    7 Unearthing Colonial Complicities in Maasai Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, Laura N. K. Van Broekhoven

    8 Like a Bridge over Troubled Water?: Fieldwork, Publicly-engaged Scholarship, and Trafficked Indonesian Mortuary Materials

    Kathleen M. Adams

    Part III Introduction Pragmatics of Counter-narrative

    9 Missionaries, Anthropologists, Museums: Instrumentalism and Lessons for Progressive Museology

    Christina Kreps

    10 European Museum Collections and Knowledge Co-production: Developing a Praxis

    Giovanna Vitelli

    11 Teaching Museum Curation and Cultural Equity by Design, Amanda J. Guzmán

    Carolyn Smith, and Rosemary A. Joyce

    12 Artistic Explorations of Place: Creative Pragmatism, Anthropology, and University Museums

    Esteban M. Gómez and Bonnie J. Clark


    Christina J. Hodge is Associate Director of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

    Christina Kreps is Professor of Anthropology and the Director of the Museum of Anthropology and Museum and Heritage Studies at the University of Denver in Colorado.