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A Critique of "Place" through Field Museum's Pacific Exhibits

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Title:A Critique of "Place" through Field Museum's Pacific Exhibits
Authors:Rodman, Margaret Critchlow
LC Subject Headings:Oceania -- Periodicals.
Date Issued:1993
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation:Rodman, M. C. 1993. A Critique of "Place" through Field Museum's Pacific Exhibits. The Contemporary Pacific 5 (2): 243-74.
Abstract:The overall objective of this article is to critique approaches to the study of place
through consideration of selected museum exhibits. The form of the article is
somewhat experimental. It is a narrative journey with three stops along the way.
At one level the article is about a visit to the Pacific Halls at Field Museum of Natural
History in Chicago, focusing on three exhibits. At another level, reflection
on these exhibits is intended to critique the use of the concept of "place" in contemporary
anthropology. The concept of "social landscape," introduced through
a discussion of latmul (Papua New Guinea) ceremonial houses, is the first stop in
this critical tour. Next, a Disneyfied Tahitian marketplace in the museum provides
the focus for a critique of the representation of places and a reminder of the
political dimensions of evocation. The article concludes with a visit to the basement
of the museum where a New Zealand Maori meetinghouse is stored. There I
consider irony as a device for conveying other ways of understanding power associated
with places, both in museums like Field and in the field of anthropology.
Appears in Collections: TCP [The Contemporary Pacific], 1993 - Volume 5, Number 2

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