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European Commission European Research Area & Seventh Framework Programme. Funded under Socio-economic Sciences & Humanities

Great historical narratives in European museums


(1750-2010): Building Nations, Looking across Borders and Remembering the Past




Les musées européens et leurs grands récits


(1750-2010): Constructions nationales, questions de frontières et usages politiques du passé


International Workshop
29 June – 1st July 2011, Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris.
Organizer : Prof. Dominique Poulot

Participation is applied for by sending an email to Felicity.Bodenstein@univ-paris1.fr

There are limited places and participants will be selected.

The “national novel” or roman national has become an everyday expression, establishing itself, in a sense as a lieu de mémoire of its own. As the French face the challenge that it poses for the museum, this workshop will consider its place in national museums across Europe. How can it be read in terms of display- is it a story or is it to be recognized behind a strong idea or principle guiding the museums general presentation of collections, images and various forms of information? Can the museum itself be considered as an author –through the individual voice of the curator or the collective one of the organization – and how may it be related to academic historiography but also to national and international politics? How does its “narration” negotiate with the results of the disciplinary practices that it represents (history, archaeology, ethnology and art history), to provide a popularized approach that remains up to date with the latest research? Finally, how decisively can its narrative contribute to the construction of memory and inspire the representation that every nation has of its own culture?

A l'heure où, en France, le terme de  « roman national » est entré dans le vocabulaire courant, à mesure peut-être de sa transformation en "lieu de mémoire", et où le monde des musées s'y trouve confronté à nouveau, on s'interrogera sur sa place dans les musées nationaux européens. Comment, d'abord, en donner une traduction en termes d'exposition - sauf à imaginer qu'un message global ou principal inspire généralement le  musée et structure sa présentation d'une collection d'objets, d'images et d'informations ? Peut-on ensuite considérer le musée en tant qu’auteur - de la voix individuelle du conservateur à celle, collective, de l'organisation - notamment dans son rapport à l'historiographie académique et à la vie politique, nationale et internationale ? Sa "narration" doit négocier avec les pratiques disciplinaires dont il se réclame (l’histoire, l’archéologie, l’ethnologie et l’histoire de l’art), et fournir à la fois la vulgate et les interrogations de la recherche contemporaine. Enfin, les musées alimentent de manière plus ou moins décisive la construction d’une mémoire, en incarnant une poétique qui inspire les représentations de la culture de chaque nation.

Wednesday 29 June: salle Perrot (14-18 h)
Afternoon Session 1: Authors and historiography in national museums
14 h : Official Welcome
14h 15 General Keynote – Stephen Bann “Alternative paradigms for the Historical Museum?  Lenoir's Monuments français and Du Sommerard's Cluny”, University of Bristol.
Coffee break
15 h 25 : Introduction to the workshop : "Museums, narrative and nation" – Dominique Poulot (Eunamus, University Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne)
Presentations by Eunamus authors and discussions
15h 45: Gabriella Lerario,  “The National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography "Luigi Pigorini" in Rome: the Nation on Display” (Eunamus, University of Bologna)
16h 30 Lili Elertson, "Freedom Loving Northerners: Norwegian Independency As Narrated in Three National Museums" (Eunamus, University of Oslo)
17h 15: Despina Catapoti, “Conflicting or complementary narratives? An insight into the 1973 Neolithic exhibition at the Archaeological Museum of Volos, Greece” (Eunamus, University of the Aegean)

Thursday 30 June, Salle Perrot, INHA (9-13h)
Morning Session 2 : From Nation building to current revisions and critical history
9h Keynote speaker
Daniel Sherman – "History and Absence at the Musée du Quai Branly and the Cité Nationale de l'Histoire de l'Immigration, Paris", (University of North Carolina)
Presentations by Eunamus authors and discussions
9h 45: Sheila Watson, “Grand Narratives: national museums and the origins of nations in Europe” (Eunamus, University of Leicester)
Coffee break
10h 45: Johan Hegardt “The National Museum of Antiquities, Stockholm, Sweden:  Narrating a (New) Nation. The museum between 1990 and 2010” (Eunamus, National Historical Museum, Stockholm)
11h 30: Péter Apor, “Mystical Nationalism: National Museums and the Recent Past in East-Central Europe”. (Eunamus, Central European University)
12h 15: Nikolai Vukov, “Ethnoscrips and Nationographies: Imagining Nations within Ethnographic Museums in South Central and Eastern Europe” (Eunamus, New Bulgarian University)

Afternoon Session 3: National Museums and Transnational Contexts (14:30-18h)
14h30: Keynote speaker Joachim Baur, "Staging Migration - Staging the Nation? Exhibiting Migration in Europe and overseas", independent curator, Die Exponauten, Berlin.
Presentations by Eunamus authors and discussions
15: 15 Peter Aronsson, “The rise and fall of the Nordic Dimension in national museums in Scandinavia” (Eunamus, University of Linköping)
Coffee Break
16: 15 Felicity Bodenstein, “Exhibiting Napoleon in European Museum (1837-2011) – the development of a dual Master Narrative” (Eunamus, University Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne)
17h: Andy Sawyer, “Maritime narratives of Europe” (Eunamus, University of Leicester)
17h 30: Christine Dupont "Beyond the national narratives? The House of European History (2011-)" (House of European History, Brussels - Université Libre de Bruxelles)

Friday, 1st July, Salle Vasari, INHA (9-13h)
Morning Session 4 : Social Uses of History and Memory
9h: Denis Peschanski "Between Individual Memory and Social Memory: two transdisciplinary Works in Progress" (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) .
Presentations by Eunamus authors and discussions
9h 45: Dominique Poulot, “Museums and Memorials : conflicts and uses of the French Revolution during the Bicentenary” (Eunamus, University Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne)
10h15: Ilaria Porciani, "The national Museum of the Risorgimento in 2011" (Eunamus, University of Bologna)
Coffee Break
10h45: Thomas Cauvin, “One common past, two distinct narratives: commemorative displays in national museums in Ireland and Northern Ireland in the 1990s” (Eunamus, University Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne and European University Institute Florence)
11h30: José María Lanzarote Guiral, "Rediscovering the Americas: the changing role of colonial collections in Spanish national museums" (Eunamus, University of Bologna)
12h15: Kristin Kutma, “Manipulation of Memory and Rewritten Master Narratives" (Eunamus, University of Tartu)


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