Author Archives: Meera

intro 2.0

Hi Monica! A few thoughts for you as you develop the syllabus for Introduction to Public Humanities: Readings that must stay (or, readings I found to be incredibly important): Silencing the Past (or some portion of it, to encourage a … Continue reading

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getting it & not getting it

Perhaps the most appalling aspect of the Couple in the Cage performance (installation? exhibit? film?) is that some people don’t “get” it. The interviews showcase a wide variety of ignorance. Those who have more questions about the Guatinaui (and seemingly don’t realize it’s … Continue reading

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‘an exercise in empathy’

In The Art of Relevance, Nina Simon emphasizes the need to de-center yourself in order to be relevant. In the specific context of museums, this could mean realizing that just because you (e.g., the curator) is interested in something doesn’t guarantee … Continue reading

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false gifts

They gave the statue as a false gift… (Wharton, 84) For me, the most pressing aspect of Wharton’s work was not his attempts to understand the local context of the statue, but, instead, the political uses of an object. In … Continue reading

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dis-engagement

Fred: … You are speaking your language and hopefully they can grasp something from that language. I just want engagement. Paula: But you know you can’t control that, right? Fred: I cannot control it. No curator can control it. …I … Continue reading

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on whiteness

When I came there, a lot of what I was encountering was people reveling in the glory of the past, and feeling like that past was themselves. …there was a kind of a way that visitors believed that if that … Continue reading

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can ‘community’ work?

Most of Miranda Joseph’s argument in her introduction to Against the Romance of Community argues that “community” functions to create exclusion. In modern society, we are obsessed with the phrase and yet its serves to re-inscribe differences rather than building unity. … Continue reading

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forming narratives, building coalitions

While reading though Conquergood’s experiences in Big Red, I was sucked into learning about the specific culture of this Chicago tenement. Conquergood portrays the residents with humor, humanity, and respect. He’s not a clinical scientist, watching from afar and taking … Continue reading

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which public? & whose public?

Throughout Barrett’s discussion of the public and the museum, I couldn’t stop thinking about admission prices. How could a museum be a place for public discourse, a place of defining public cultural, a place of the public sphere, if only … Continue reading

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reckoning with a plaque

Upton’s introduction mentions the murder of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. It was a surprise, to me, to see their names. A year or two ago, I visited their murder site, as it is off the main highway in … Continue reading

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