1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071
Nina McConigley Public Reading - November 21, 2013, 7:30 p.m., Coe 506
Upstart Crows Poetry Reading - November 21, 2013, 5 p.m. - 6 p.m., Hoyt 212 (Mathison Library)
L.L. Smith Speaker Series Presents Dr. Elizabeth Weiser, Ohio State-Newark - October 3-4, 2013
To faithfully reflect reality, vocabularies must select realities that may well also deflect from reality, wrote rhetorician Kenneth Burke in an early article. National history museums are some of the clearest examples of these reflecting (selecting/deflecting) “vocabularies,” narrating a partially permanent, constantly shifting version of public identity. Drawing on my research in twenty nations on six continents, I will in this talk compare narratives of settlement in the US and elsewhere that made the incorporation of indigenous history problematic, examine efforts to re-narrate that history through a focus on various “mythic images,” and finally end with a consideration of the contrasting ideals of nationalism or transnationalism evident in museums today. I will look most closely at national museums in the US, New Zealand, and Rwanda, while also drawing on my recent collaboration with the European Commission’s national museums project. 'Who we are' is heavily influenced by—but also influences—who we say we are and who, as a public, we want to be.