The Disobedient Museum: Writing at the Edge aims to motivate disciplinary thinking to reimagine writing about museums as an activity where resistant forms of thinking, seeing, feeling, and acting can be produced, and to theorize this process as a form of protest against disciplinary stagnation.
Drawing on a range of cultural, theoretical, and political approaches, Kylie Message examines potential links between methods of critique today and moments of historical and disciplinary crisis, and asks what contribution museums might make to these, either as direct actors or through activities that sit more comfortably within their institutional remit. Identifying the process of writing about museums as a form of activism, that brings together and elaborates on cultural and political agendas for change, the book explores how a process of engaged critique might benefit museum studies, what this critique might look like, and how museum studies might make a contribution to discourses of social and political change.
The Disobedient Museum is the first volume in Routledge’s innovative ‘Museums in Focus’ series and will be of great interest to scholars and students in the fields of Museum, Heritage, Public History, and Cultural Studies. It should also be essential reading for museum practitioners, particularly those engaged with questions about the role of museums in regard to social activism and contentious contemporary challenges.
Introduction: ‘This is not a protest. This is a process’
1. Political Protest
2. Disciplinary Crisis
3. Writing Resistance
Conclusion: ‘Movements are born in the moments when abstract principles become concrete concerns’
Committed to the articulation of big, even risky, ideas in small format publications, Museums In Focus challenges authors and readers to experiment with, innovate, and press museums and the intellectual frameworks through which we view these. It offers a platform for approaches that radically rethink the relationships between cultural and intellectual dissent and crisis and debates about museums, politics and the broader public sphere.
Museums In Focus is motivated by the intellectual hypothesis that museums are not innately ‘useful’, safe’ or even ‘public’ places, and that recalibrating our thinking about them might benefit from adopting a more radical and oppositional form of logic and approach. Examining this problem requires a level of comfort with (or at least tolerance of) the idea of crisis, dissent, protest and radical thinking, and authors might benefit from considering how cultural and intellectual crisis, regeneration and anxiety have been dealt with in other disciplines and contexts.
Books published in the series are between 30,000 and 50,000 words in length and fully refereed. If you would like to discuss submitting a proposal, please contact the series editor: Kylie.Message@anu.edu.au.
Further information about Professor Message's work can be found here: https://www.routledge.com/authors/i14753-kylie-message.