Museums and post-Mao representation

Regular book reviewer Kosmas Tsokhas has another review available at the JCA website (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2015.1053692).

Museums after MaoMuseums in China: The Politics of Representation after Mao is published by Boydell & Brewer. Author Marzia Varutti asks why museums have become so important for China, having expanded rapidly over the last two decades.

Tsokhas writes of the book as deriving from empirical research in more than 50 museums  across the country, arranged with theoretical insights from museum studies relating to representation, narrative and discursive practice. He says that the author “demonstrates
how the transition from socialism to capitalism in China has resulted in a synthesis
of traditional, modern and post-modern architectural design” in ways that make museums symbols of national prestige, cultural treasure houses, odes to modernity, and more.

Culture, gender and ethnicity are smudged to fit a nationalist and sometimes martial mold and provide for political legitimation of the current order.

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