Curiouser and Curiouser: Why Twenty-First-Century Wonderlands Need Anthropology Museums More Than Ever

Date: 

May 04, 2017, 6:00 pm

Location: 

Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Ruth Phillips
Ruth Phillips

Ruth Phillips, Canada Research Chair and Professor of Art History, Carleton University, Ottawa; Visiting Professor of Art History, Yale University

Western museums have always been in the business of displaying, provoking, and seeking to satisfy curiosity. The collections of the Peabody and other anthropology museums are, on one level, material deposits of the different forms that “curiosity” has taken through four centuries of European imperial and colonial expansion. Recently, though, postcolonial critiques, Indigenous activism, and emergent settler-colonial discourses have shaken the foundations of museums. Ruth Phillips will discuss the importance of anthropology collections as critical tools for understanding our collective past and present, and for forging and protecting civil society in a world that can seem as bizarre as Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland.

Lecture. Free and open to the public. 

Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street

Related exhibition: All the World Is Here: Harvard’s Peabody Museum and the Invention of American Anthropology, an exhibition at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, opens April 22