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New constellations of difference in Europe's museumscape

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JournalMuseum Anthropology
DatePublished - 8 Mar 2016
Issue number1
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)4-19
Original languageEnglish


This article addresses some of the recent, ongoing, and planned reconfigurations of museums in Europe in light of their implications for the making of cultural difference, diversity, and citizenship. It argues that these are configured not only through the internal content of particular museums but also through divisions of classificatory labor and hierarchies of value between kinds of museums and their locations within cities and within nations—that is, through constellations of difference within museumscapes. It examines this in relation to examples of planned and realized new museums, including of Europe, national history, and world museums. Particular attention is given here to the fate of ethnographic or ethnological museums—museums that have had especially significant places in the coordination of difference and identity—and to the consequences of this within shifting grounds of belonging and cultural citizenship. The article then discusses some potential consequences of museum configuration within one city by looking at plans for reconfiguring Berlin's museumscape, especially in relation to the Humboldt Forum, in reconstructed facades of a former palace in the center of the urban and national museumscape.

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© 2016 by the American Anthropological Association. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

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