Visiting Instructor of German and Russian Studies Peggy Piesche was an invited guest lecturer at the conference “Museum and Politics – Alliances and Conflicts,” in Karlsruhe, Germany, Nov 4-6. The conference addressed the social/political embedment of museums in post-unified Germany and in a more transnational oriented Europe today. Her talk was titled ‘Museum. Space. History: New Sites of Political Tectonics and discussed the concept of museum as a continuation and reenactment of a collective historic memory.
While museums are always part of the hegemonic gaze of history which is already inscribed in the museum’s notion of the white cube, the history, memory and the presence of marginalized culture(s) becomes the object of these collective memories. In the past decades black, migrant and anti-colonial initiatives increasingly try not only to resist this gaze but develop strategies to rediscover their own collective memories.
That raises the question, what a museum as a concept really can do and if it at all can be used in a way that the practices of appropriation would therefore allow a historical alternative perspective. Piesche’s talk discussed the rather problematic, if not antagonistic relationship between Diaspora and museum and examined ways and examples of diasporic musealization.