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Biomedicine in museums

Human remains in museums — are museum curators the principal campaigners against them?

By September 29, 2010No Comments

From Medical Museion's collections

Tiffany Jenkins is soon coming out with a book titled Contesting Human Remains in Museum Collections: The Crisis of Cultural Authority in Routledge’s ‘Research in Museum Studies’ series.

Drawing on interviews, ethnographic work, and media and policy documents, the book analyzes, says Routledge’s announcement, “the influences at play on the contestation over human remains, and examines the social construction of this problem”.

One potentially interesting result of Jenkin’s analysis (which supports my own experience here in Denmark) is that

the strongest campaigning activity has been waged, not by social movements external to the institution, as they are frequently characterized, but by actors inside it

As Jenkins points out, this has implications for how we theorise the museum.

The fact that Tiffany Jenkins is arts and society director of the sometimes contested (see here and here) London-based think-tank Institute of Ideas, makes it an even more intereresting publication. I’ve already ordered a copy, although 70 GBP is a pretty hefty price tag.

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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