The aim of this Seminar is to think about, with and through museums – including addressing the question that Mary Douglas raised for institutions more generally of how museums ‘think’. We will explore various philosophical questions – epistemological, ontological, metaphysical, ethical, and aesthetic – concerning museums and their activities. These include: What is a museum? What are museums actually collecting and exhibiting? How do museums shape knowledge? Is an object the same object once it is displayed in a museum? Is the provenance of an object essential to its identity? Does it matter if replicas or fakes are exhibited? Should objects from other countries be repatriated? How should museums deal with traumatic pasts and contested histories?
The seminar will be conducted mainly in English, but contributions in German will be welcome.
Douglas, Mary 1986, How Institutions Think, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press
Harrison, Victoria S., Anna Bergqvist and Gary Kemp, (eds.), 2017, Philosophy and Museums, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Macdonald, Sharon, (ed.), 2011, A Companion to Museum Studies, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
Preziosi, Donald and Claire Farago, (eds.), 2004, Grasping the World. The Idea of the Museum, Aldershot: Ashgate