Museums and Societies
Museums as we know them are creatures of the 19th century. They embody the intersecting forces of nationalism and universalism, democratic revolutions and elite formation, socioeconomoc transformations, and scientific and artistic traditions and innovations. Intended to tame, shape, represent, and glorify the modern era, museums were made to bear considerably more weight than most other cultural institutions. Their achievements in the 20th century have been both astonishing and disquieting to many observers. This course examines the origins, development, and transformations that these cultural institutions have undergone. It scrutinizes the makeup of their creators and the continuing metamorphoses of their substantive bases from a multidisciplinary perspective. We will consider the future of museums in light of technological, political, scienitific, and artistic developments.