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Watson, Sheila, Amy Jane Barnes and Katy Bunning (eds). 2018. A Museum Studies Approach to Heritage. Leicester Readers in Museum Studies. London: Routledge.
Heritage’s revival as a respected academic subject has, in part, resulted from an increased awareness and understanding of indigenous rights and non-Western philosophies and practices, and a growing respect for the intangible. Heritage has, thus far, focused on management, tourism and the traditionally ‘heritage-minded’ disciplines, such as archaeology, geography, and social and cultural theory. Widening the scope of international heritage studies, A Museum Studies Approach to Heritage explores heritage through new areas of knowledge, including emotion and affect, the politics of dissent, migration, and intercultural and participatory dimensions of heritage.
Drawing on a range of disciplines and the best from established sources, the book includes writing not typically recognised as ‘heritage’, but which, nevertheless, makes a valuable contribution to the debate about what heritage is, what it can do, and how it works and for whom. Including heritage perspectives from beyond the professional sphere, the book serves as a reminder that heritage is not just an academic concern, but a deeply felt and keenly valued public and private practice. This blending of traditional topics and emerging trends, established theory and concepts from other disciplines offers readers international views of the past and future of this growing field.
A Museum Studies Approach to Heritage offers a wider, more current and more inclusive overview of issues and practices in heritage and its intersection with museums. As such, the book will be essential reading for postgraduate students of heritage and museum studies. It will also be of great interest to academics, practitioners and anyone else who is interested in how we conceptualise and use the past.
Dudley, Sandra, Amy Jane Barnes, Jennifer Binnie, Julia Petrov and Jennifer Walklate (eds). 2012. Narrating Objects: Collecting Stories. London: Routledge.
Narrating Objects, Collecting Stories is a wide-ranging collection of essays exploring the stories that can be told by and about objects and those who choose to collect them. Examining objects and collecting in different historical, social and institutional contexts, an international, interdisciplinary group of authors consider the meanings and values with which objects are imputed and the processes and implications of collecting. This includes considering the entanglement of objects and collectors in webs of social relations, value and change, object biographies and the sometimes conflicting stories that things come to represent, and the strategies used to reconstruct and retell the narratives of objects. The book includes considerations of individual and groups of objects, such as domestic interiors, novelty tea-pots, Scottish stone monuments, African ironworking, a postcolonial painting and memorials to those killed on the roads in Australia. It also contains chapters dealing with particular collectors – including Charles Bell and Beatrix Potter – and representational techniques.
Dudley, Sandra, Amy Jane Barnes, Jennifer Binnie, Julia Petrov and Jennifer Walklate (eds). 2011. The Thing about Museums: Objects and Experience, Representation and Contestation. London: Routledge.
The Thing about Museums constitutes a unique, highly diverse collection of essays unprecedented in existing books in either museum and heritage studies or material culture studies. Taking varied perspectives and presenting a range of case studies, the chapters all address objects in the context of museums, galleries and/or the heritage sector more broadly. Specifically, the book deals with how objects are constructed in museums, the ways in which visitors may directly experience those objects, how objects are utilised within particular representational strategies and forms, and the challenges and opportunities presented by using objects to communicate difficult and contested matters. Topics and approaches examined in the book are diverse, but include the objectification of natural history specimens and museum registers; materiality, immateriality, transience and absence; subject/object boundaries; sensory, phenomenological perspectives; the museumisation of objects and collections; and the dangers inherent in assuming that objects, interpretation and heritage are ‘good’ for us.
Knell, Simon, Peter Aronsson, Arne Bugge Amundsen, Amy Jane Barnes, Stuart Burch, Jennifer Carter, Viviane Gosselin, Sally Hughes and Alan Kirwan (eds). 2010. National Museums: new studies from around the world. London: Routledge.
National Museums is the first book to explore the national museum as a cultural institution in a range of contrasting national contexts. Composed of new studies of countries that rarely make a showing in the English-language studies of museums, this book reveals how these national museums have been used to create a sense of national self, place the nation in the arts, deal with the consequences of political change, remake difficult pasts, and confront those issues of nationalism, ethnicity and multiculturalism which have come to the fore in national politics in recent decades.
National Museums combines research from both leading and new researchers in the fields of history, museum studies, cultural studies, sociology, history of art, media studies, science and technology studies, and anthropology. It is an interrogation of the origins, purpose, organisation, politics, narratives and philosophies of national museums.