CFP Dec 7, 2002

Museums in Africa (Egypt) (ALA, 3/19-3/22/03)


1/7/03; ALA, 3/19/03-3/22/03)

DEADLINE: January 7th, 2003

African Literature Association's 29th annual meeting
"Of Lighthouses and Libraries: History ReLit"

19-23 March 2003
Alexandria, Egypt

Institute for Gender and Women's Studies,
American University in Cairo
Sponsored Panel

"Public/private, in and out of Africa's museums"

Half of Africa's museums are located in nation-states with the most
globalized economies: public funds in Libya, Tunis, Algeria, South
Africa and Egypt sponsor half the continents' institutionalized
representations of the past. Nation-states--and the artifacts,
heritages and selves that support their sovereignties--regulate
access to museums as modern institutions. Yet, what is the
relationship between cultural institutions and the nation-state under

Drawing on Debra Morris' critical re-interrogation of public and
private (Signs 25: 2, Winter 2000), it can be argued that
performances and utterances within and around museum displays bridge
the public/ private divide. Collections expose individuals'
possessions, extract artifac ts as archeology, and raze locations
into history. Morris situates the public/private divide in liberal
power and political values (property, market capitalism,
patriarchical relations). This divide serves to protect decisions,
experiences, and places from fellow citizens', nation-state or
international interventions.

Morris' work represents one possible strategy for critical studies of
such postcolonial institutions as museums. For her, "privacy allows
us to represent--without rationalizing away--those desires, needs,
and experiences that implicitly challenge the demand for articulated
rationality." Rather than conceptualizing privacy as a crucial
reprieve of power (that is, thinking of it as the opposite of power;
which requires banishing bodies, economic concerns, and social
questions from public life), Morris' concept of transitional space
may prove useful in considering museums' spaces, collections, and

This proposed panel invites papers that critically engage with
museums and practices of institutionalized memory in Africa and
engage--but need not be limited to--the following questions: In what
ways do orality and commemorations of memory cross-cut
institutionalized histories? Does display of domestic objects entail
contradictions for community museums? What shadows do institutions of
national authority cast over near-by historical displays?

Those interested should submit a paper title and an abstract by
January 7 to

Panel organized by
Dr. Elizabeth Bishop, Scholar Affiliate
Institute for Gender and Women's Studies
The American University in Cairo

Further information on the conference visit:
Further information on the Institute for Gender and Women's Studies

CFP: Museums in Africa (Egypt) (ALA, 3/19-3/22/03). In:, Dec 7, 2002 (accessed Mar 23, 2023), <>.