Recognition on display: Kelsey R. Wrightson, ‘The Limits of Recognition: The Spirit Sings, Canadian Museums and the Colonial Politics of Recognition’, Museum Anthropology, 40, 1, 2017, pp. 36–51
Abstract: This article critiques the settler colonial politics of recognition in relation to Canadian museological practice. Despite a strong intellectual legacy critiquing asymmetric power relations and the problems of representing “otherness,” there have been few sustained examinations of the ways in which museums are implicated in settler colonial regimes of power. Dene scholar Glen Coulthard has written extensively on the manner in which the “politics of recognition” perpetuates settler colonialism in Canada. I argue that the normative shifts in Canadian museum practice post-1988 exemplify institutionalized shifts toward the colonial politics of recognition within Canadian museums. Further, I find that this is part of ongoing settler colonial practices of domination. I argue that current museological practice, particularly as it relates to Indigenous pieces within museums, must include a critique of the settler colonial politics of recognition as part of both critical analysis and normative orientation.
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