The Museum’s Borders demonstrates that museum practices are deeply entangled in border making, patrol, mitigation and erasure, and that the border lens offers a new tool for deconstructing and reconfiguring such practices.
Arguing that the museum is a critical institution for the operation of knowledge-based democracies, Knell investigates how they have been used by scientists, art historians and historians to construct our bordered world. Examining the role of museums in the Windrush scandal in Britain, the exclusion of Black artists in America, ideological and propaganda discourses in Europe and China, and the remembering of contested pasts in the Balkans, Knell argues for the importance of museums in countering unethical, nationalistic, post-fact political discourse.
Using the principles of Knell’s ‘Contemporary Museology’, The Museum’s Borders considers the significance of the museum for societies that wish to know and remember in ways that empower citizens and build cohesive societies. The book will be of great interest to students and academics engaged in the study of museums and heritage, art history, science studies, cultural studies, anthropology, memory studies and history. It is required reading for museum professionals seeking to adopt non-discriminatory practices.
Table of Contents
1. Border violence, democracy and museums
2. The border lens
THE BORDERS OF TRUTH
3. From ethical borders to border force
4. The museum’s ethical rebordering
THE BORDERS OF MEMORY
5. The borders of historical truth
6. Border armouries, walls and crossings
THE BORDERS OF CONTEMPORARY LIVING
7. Contemporary museology
8. Knowing and remembering well
Simon Knell is Professor of Contemporary Museology at the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK.