Thursday, October 24, 2019 - 4:00pm
Smathers Library 100

How have museums engaged the debates about human atrocities? This lecture explores the development of permanent exhibitions and museums dedicated in part or entirely to address the problem of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade in England, France and the United States, by examining the cases of the Nantes History Museum, Museum of Aquitaine, the International Slavery Museum, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I contend that the official memory of slavery is shaped by other modalities of memory (collective, cultural, and public) but in various nations it also depends on government involvement in publicly and privately funded initiatives. Therefore, although official, these memories are not static. They remain dynamic like the societies where they emerge. The inclusion of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade in the museum exposes the nuanced approaches through which each country engages with its own black and white communities. It also reveals how each nation deals with its regional, national, and international pasts, where racism and white supremacy persist.