There are times — often unexpected and sometimes rare — when a situation arises that makes profoundly evident how groups represent the world to their members in a manner that supports their interests.
Such a moment made the rounds on social media this weekend, when then US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, spoke at an April 11, 2003, press conference on what was, at the time, the early stages of the long war in Iraq. Continue reading “Caveat Auditor”
I keep seeing laments online for what the members of the Islamic State are doing in museums — laments that easily slide into virulent critiques of their humanity since they obviously have no civilized respect for our collective human past.
I’ve written about this before, but what I wish to highlight here is how quickly otherwise nuanced people forget their own understanding of such things as the ideology of the museum, the politics of world history and discourse on civilization/barbarity, as well as the constructed nature of the past — quickly, that is, when their own taken-for-granted narratives of progressive development, value, cultural authority, and historical interconnection/lineage are called into question by those who, presumably, subscribe to a rather different narrative. Continue reading “When the Sledgehammers Come Out”