Decolonizing the Western Museum: (Im)possible?
In Program of Absolute Disorder, (March 2023), why does Françoise Vergès argue that the decolonization of the Western museum is impossible?
A book talk by the author in the framework of the Humanities Across Borders Book Talk Series.
In Program of Absolute Disorder (March 2023), why does Françoise Vergès argue that the decolonization of the Western museum is impossible?
If decolonization, as Frantz Fanon wrote, is a program of absolute disorder because it sets up to change the order of the world, then the museum, an invention of European modernity intimately tied with colonialism and imperialism, cannot be decolonized unless it is entirely dismantled. Its model is, however, hegemonic, the prestige of its collection must reflect the degree of civilization of the nation, and its architecture must attract awards and tourists. Escaping this hegemony means imagining a “post-museum.” Françoise Vergès will first look at the birth of one of the most prestigious universal museums, Le Louvre, the child of the European Enlightenment and the French Revolution, then at initiatives that are imagining post-museums.
The Speaker (author)
Françoise Vergès (PhD Berkeley, 1995) is a political scientist, writer, independent curator and activist. Recent publications: Programme de désordre absolu. Décoloniser le musée, 2023, A Feminist Theory of Violence, 2021, De la violence coloniale dans l’espace public, 2021, A Decolonial Feminism, 2020.