With this posting, we are beginning our Blog adventure here at Chora. We would like to use this space to explore issues and themes in cultural education, more specifically museums. For the past forty years of so, we have tried to inform and infuse our museum practice with theory; from psychoanalytic theoretical models of memory and mourning, to anthropological models of identity, ritual, and ideology. Response to this style of work has ranged from infuriating to intriguing. Wherever you might fall on that scale of interest, we hope to engage you in some lively professional ponderings and maybe some new ways of thinking about how we conduct and critique our work. (more…)

Book Review By Robert Sullivan

In reading Tony Bennett’s Pasts Beyond Memory: Evolution, Museums, Colonialism (2004), it is hard to believe that less than decade ago this profession was lamenting the “blanket of critical silence” and lack of “any rigorous form of critical analysis” for museums or museum history. Now we seem awash in it, as both academics and museum practitioners have rushed in to fill the intellectual void. Museums, especially natural history museums, are the last of the Victorian, modernist, institutions to be deconstructed by post-structuralist theory. Bennett in both his previous volume, The Birth of the Museum, and in this more recent book attempts to do just that, consorting with the usual post-modern theoretical suspects; Michel Foucault, Bruno Latour, and Pierre Bourdieu. (more…)