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Transforming Collections : Socio-political discourses of heritage
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of ALM.
2009 (English)Conference proceedings (editor) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Before and after the South African democratic election in 1994 South African museums had in earnest started to reconsider the production of heritage. This is referred to as Transformation and entails a transition from apartheids racial and unjust society to democracy. Transformation in terms of museums led to a body of negotiations concerning laws, regulations and policy documents aimed to change the outcome of heritage production and find new ways to represent a multicultural South Africa. This paper aims to address Transformation in collections based on field research (2004-2007) carried out in ‘Msunduzi Museum Incorporating the Voortrekker Complex’ and the ‘Natal Museum’ both located in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The museums represent an Afrikaner respectively an anglophile institutions that has become multicultural institutions. I will exemplify how Transformation in collections was brought about, what was changed and what remained and how the museums negotiated acts and policy documents to alter heritage productions. Coupled with Transformation is the critique of museums as eurocentric, colonial and apartheid productions given negative association. This is employed to polarise Transformation against past eras to locate the political position from where Transformation is argued. However the critique only reflects a simplified version of a complex heritage landscape and I will explain the many similarities in the articulation and consistency of collections in past and present times to highlight the multivocal and complex socio-political transition of South African museums.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Groningen: University of Groningen , 2009.
, Conference proceedings of The World Humanitarian Conference 2009.
Keyword [en]
museum, collection, South Africa, apartheid, the transformation, democracy, civil war
National Category
Cultural Studies
Research subject
History; Cultural Anthropology; Ethnology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-144767OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-144767DiVA: diva2:394334
Available from: 2011-02-02 Created: 2011-02-02 Last updated: 2011-03-21Bibliographically approved

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Rodéhn, Cecilia
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