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Call for Papers: Exhibitions as sites of cultural diversity

Exhibitions as sites of cultural diversity: foreignness
Turku 18.-19.11.2010

The multiculturalism network of the University of Turku (MCnet) and the department of general history will arrange a two-day seminar on exhibitions as sites of cultural diversity. Exhibitions, whether temporal or permanent, such as museum displays, have been a crucial medium during the formation of modern mass societies and globalization. These highly popular and newsworthy events have been the nexus of commerce, science, art, politics, education and entertainment. They have been sites for producing conceptions of the world and for negotiation between "ours" and "theirs".

The first seminar of the series will contribute to the debate on multiculturalism, cultural encounters and otherness by launching and developing the concept of "foreignness". Foreignness is seen as an essentially imagined quality, something which is considered to be related to that which is abroad. The seminars will study the dichotomy between foreign and indigenous as a cultural construction. The seminars deal with the questions of foreignness both in the perspective of Nordic and inter-European relations as well as between the Nordic countries and the non-Western world.

The keynote lecturers are prof. Kerstin Smeds and adjunct professor Anders Ekström. Professor Smeds (Museum Studies, Department of Culture and Media, University of Umeå) is a specialist on museums and material culture. She has published e.g. "Helsingfors-Paris. Finland på världsutställningarna 1851-1900". Adjunct professor Ekström (Research Leader at History of Science and Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm) has published widely on the history of exhibitions and media and is currently leading the research project "Publics on display: A cultural history of audiences and publics, 1866-1930".

The seminar aims at bringing together researchers and doctoral students working at universities, museums and other cultural institutions. Participation of researchers of various disciplines is encouraged, including for example, history, ethnology, anthropology, sociology, museum studies, cultural and art studies.

The keynote lectures will be in English whilst some sessions will be in Finnish. Abstracts (half a page) should be sent by Friday 10 September to Leila Koivunen (leikoi(a)utu.fi) or Taina Syrjämaa (taisyr(a)utu.fi). Organizers will make the division into sessions on the basis of the abstracts.

Contact information:

Professor Taina Syrjämaa

Adjunct professor Leila Koivunen

General History
20014 University of Turku

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