Museums, Collections and Literature - Bard College Collections and Literature ... function and impact of the culture of collecting and ... - Jean Baudrillard, “System of Collecting ...

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  • Museums, Col lect ions and Literature

    Seminar Leader: Laura ScuriattiTime: Wednesday 10:45 12:15

    Friday 15:15 16:45Location: P98 Seminar RoomEmail:

    Course DescriptionFrom the Studioli and Wunderkammern of the Renaissance to modern museums, via the universal exhibitions, our culture has been fascinated with selecting objects, artefacts and sometimes even people, in order to exhibit them, communicate and preserve something about itself or what it construed as its other, as well as about what it considers to be the order of the world.The course will investigate the role, function and impact of the culture of collecting and exhibiting in Europe in its historical development by asking questions concerning the status of exhibits, the political meaning of museums, the difference between museums and collections, as well as about the way in which museums and collections have interacted with the organization of knowledge into disciplines.As part of the course, students will visit Berlin museums, and reflect on the project of the Museumsinsel, which continues to be a protagonist of contemporary Berlin politics and cultural life.

    Schedule of ReadingsWeek 1 IntroductionReadings for the week:

    - Krzysztof Pomian, The Collection: Between the Visible and the Invisible- Eva Schulz, Note on the History of Collecting and of Museums- Wolfgang Ernst, Archi(ve)textures of Museology- Anthony Alan Shelton, Cabinets of Transgression: Renaissance Collections and the

    Incorporation of the New World- Paula Findlen, The Modern Muses. Renaissance Collecting and the Cult of


    Week 2 - The development of museums as institutions: theories and critiquesReading for this week:

    - Tony Bennett, The Exhibitionary Complex- Tony Bennett, The Formation of the Museum- Douglas Crimp, The End of Art and the Origin of the Museum- Michel Foucault, Of Other Spaces

  • Week 3 Museums and the Organization of KnowledgeReadings for this week:

    - Michel Foucault, The Order of Things (selection)

    Weeks 4 & 5 - The Berlin MuseumsinselVisit to the Neues Museum, the Bodemuseum and MuseumsinselReadings for these weeks:

    - Susanne Marchand, The Quarrel of Ancients and Moderns in the German Museums- Alexis Joachimides, The Museums Discourse on Art- Douglas Crimp, The Post-modern Museum- Detleff Hoffman, The German Art Museum and the History of the Nation

    Weeks 6 & 7 (one session) Museums and EthnographyReadings for this week:

    - James Clifford, Collecting Ourselves- James Clifford, On Ethnographic Allegory

    Visit to the Ethnologisches Museum in Dahlem

    Weeks 7 & 8 (one session) - Politics, Identity, MemoryReading for these sessions:

    - Stephen Bann, The Clothing of Clio (selection)- Daniel Libeskind, Between the Lines: Extension to the Berlin Museum, with the Jewish

    Museum- Chantal Gorgel, The Museum as Metaphor in Nineteenth Century France

    Visit to the Jewish Museum

    Week 8 (one session) Week 9 - Objects, Narrative and DesireReadings for these sessions:

    - Walter Benjamin, Unpacking My Library, Eduard Fuchs: Collector and Historian- Mieke Bal, Telling Objects: A Narrative Perspective on Collecting- Jean Baudrillard, System of Collecting- Susan Stewart, On Longing (selection)- Susan M. Pearce, Objects as Meaning; or Narrating the Past - Georg Simmel, The Philosophy of Money (selection)

    Visit to the Deutsches Historisches Museum

    Week 10 Museums, National Identity and Politics- Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Culture (selection)- B. Groys, The Struggle against the Museum; or, The Display of Art in Totalitarian

    Space - Brian Wallis, Selling Nations: International Exhibitions and Cultural Diplomacy- M. Norton Wise and Elaine M. Wise, Staging an Empire

  • Weeks 11 & 12 - Of Objects and Texts: Literature, Collecting and Museums IReadings for these weeks:

    - T. W. Adorno, Valery, Proust, Museum- Gustave Flaubert, Bouvard and Pecuchet

    Week 13 - Of Objects and Texts: Literature, Collecting and Museums IIReadings for this week:

    - John Fowler, The Collector

    Week 14 - Collecting the Self: Collections and (Auto)biographyReading for these weeks:

    - Henry James, The Aspern PapersVisit of Me Collector's Room, Berlin

    Guest SpeakersProf. Caroline Patey (Universit Statale di Milano), on Sir John Soanes Museum and HouseDr. Dorothea von Hantelmann (Freie Universitt Berlin)Prof. Boris Groys (Staatliche Hochschule fr Gestaltung, Karlsruhe)

    Attendance and Submission of Written WorkAttendance is mandatory. Reading assignments have to be done in advance of class for it is on those readings that each class discussion is based. Each student will be in charge of an oral presentation. For the oral presentation, students will bring to class one or more pages of written notes with questions and bullet-points intended to introduce the assigned art works and to facilitate the discussion. These notes will be handed to Laura at the end of the class and will be part of the final grade along with class performance. There will be two papers of 7-9 pages (Times New Roman 12, 1 lines spacing), which will either be based on the students oral presentation or will focus on one of the set essay questions. Students are also allowed to write their own questions after a consultation with me.

    Papers are due on the following dates:

    Friday 19th October 2012, 11 pmSaturday 1st December 2012, 11 pm

    Absences are registered in all classes, and lateness influences the participation grade.All written work must be submitted electronically and on time. Late submissions are downgraded one full grade, and no submissions are accepted more than 12 hours after the deadline, unless an extension has been asked for well in advance. Illness or inability to attend class must be promptly reported to me.

    Please email your essays to the following address:

  • Evaluation:- Attendance/class performance: 30 %- Oral Presentation: 20 %- Mid-term Paper: 20 %- Final paper: 30%


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