Colonialism and the Object

Empire, Material Culture and the Museum

Edited by Tim Barringer, Tom Flynn

© 1997 – Routledge

236 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415157766
pub: 1997-12-18
US Dollars$48.95
Hardback: 9780415157759
pub: 1997-12-18
US Dollars$165.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Drawing together an international group of scholars from a variety of disciplinary and cultural backgrounds, Colonialism and the Object explores the impact of colonial contact with other cultures on the material culture of both the colonized and the imperial nation.

The book includes intensive case-studies of objects from India, Pakistan, New Zealand, China and Africa, all of which were collected by, or exhibited in, the institutions of the British Empire, and key chapters address issues of radical identity across cultural barriers, and the hybird styles of objects which can emerge when cultures meet.

Colonialism and the Object is essential reading for all those interested in post-colonial theory, museum studies, material culture and design history.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Part 1: 2. The South Kensington Museum and the Colonial Project 3. Chinese Material Culture and British Perceptions of China in the Mid-Nineteenth Century 4. China in Britain: The Imperial Collections 5. Colonial Architecture, International Exhibitions and Official Patronage of the Indian Artisan: The Case of a Gateway from Gwalior in the Victoria and Albert Museum 6. Stylistic Hybridity and Colonial Art and Design Education: A Wooden Carved Screen by Ram Singh 7. Race, Authenticity and Colonialism: A 'Mustice' Silversmith in Philadelphia and St. Croix, 1783-1850 8. Domesticating Uzbeks: Central Asians in Soviet Decorative Arts of the Twenties and Thirties 9. Keys to the Magic Kingdom: The Gallery of Transcultural Arts in Bradford Part 2: 10. Perspectives on Hinemihi - A Maori Meeting House 11. Maori Vision and the Imperialist Gaze 12. Gathering Souls and Objects: Missionary Collections 13. Photography at the Heart of Darkness: Herbert Lang's Congo Photographs (1909-15) 14. Taming the Tusk: Belgian Decorative Arts and the Promotion of Ivory as a Colonial Commodity at the 1897 Brussels International Exhibition Bibliography Index

About the Editors

Tim Barringer is a lecturer in History of Art at the University of Birmingham, following earlier positions at Birbeck College, University of London and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Tom Flynn is a freelance art historian and writer. He is currently completing a book on sculpture and the body.

About the Series

Museum Meanings

Museums have undergone enormous changes in recent decades; an ongoing process of renewal and transformation bringing with it changes in priority, practice and role as well as new expectations, philosophies, imperatives and tensions that continue to attract attention from those working in, and drawing upon, wide ranging disciplines.

Museum Meanings presents new research that explores diverse aspects of the shifting social, cultural and political significance of museums and their agency beyond, as well as within, the cultural sphere. Interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and international perspectives and empirical investigation are brought to bear on the exploration of museums’ relationships with their various publics (and analysis of the ways in which museums shape – and are shaped by – such interactions).

Theoretical perspectives might be drawn from anthropology, cultural studies, art and art history, learning and communication, media studies, architecture and design and material culture studies amongst others. Museums are understood very broadly – to include art galleries, historic sites and other cultural heritage institutions – as are their relationships with diverse constituencies.

The focus on the relationship of the museum to its publics shifts the emphasis from objects and collections and the study of museums as text, to studies grounded in the analysis of bodies and sites; identities and communities; ethics, moralities and politics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Museum Administration & Museology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology