Museums in China

Museums in China : The Politics of Representation after Mao

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Museums in China have undergone tremendous transformations since they first appeared in the country in the late nineteenth century. Futuristic, state-of-the-art museums have today become symbols of China's global cultural, economic and technological prominence, and over the last two decades, the number of Chinese museums has increased at an unprecedented rate, with China set to become the country with the highest number of museums in the world. But why have museums become so important?
This book, based on extensive research in a number of the museums themselves, examines recent changes in their display methods, narratives, actors and architectural style. It also considers their representations of Chinese national identity, millenarian history and extraordinary cultural diversity. Through an analysis of the changes affecting not only what we observe through museums, but also the very medium of observation (i.e. museums themselves), this book provides a unique, original and timely exploration of the ongoing changes affecting Chinese society, and an evaluation of their consequences.

Dr Marzia Varutti is a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Museum Studies, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 203 pages
  • 172 x 244 x 19.05mm | 680.39g
  • The Boydell Press
  • Woodbridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 17 Illustrations, black and white
  • 1843838885
  • 9781843838883
  • 1,594,189

Table of contents

Cultural Heritage in China
Museums in China: Origins and Development
New Actors in the Chinese Museum World
Museum Objects and the Chinese Nation
The Nation in the Museum
The Politics of the Past
The Representation of the Past in China's Museums
The Politics of Identity
The Museum Representation of Ethnic Minorities
Techniques and Sites of Display of Ethnic Minorities
Conclusions: the New Museums of China
Appendix: List of museums in China visited by the author
Bibliography and References
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Review quote

Varutti has done a great service by tackling the enormous topic of museums in China and bringing together a considerable Western secondary literature with her own observations of museums. JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE

The book provides a valuable theoretical introduction for scholars and students of museology and heritage studies. THE CHINA JOURNAL

There's much to learn from Varutti's detailed and readable study. MUSEUMS JOURNAL

As the subtitle of Varutti's work indicates, Museums in China: The Politics of Representation after Mao, offers an analysis of how Chinese museums today are involved in purposeful representation, above all of the new national identity "organically" founded on heritage, history, and glorious art. MUSEUM ANTHROPOLOGY REVIEW
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