Museums as Living Archives of Public Policy in Aix-en-Provence and Paris

Lisa Abia-Smith and Doug Blandy
Course Description
This course will introduce students to the role of museums and cultural heritage policy generally and with an emphasis on cultural heritage policy as it informs interpretation and teaching about the atrocities of racism and genocide within French museums, heritage sites and memorials in response to decolonization. This course will provide students with tangible means for understanding difficult content and result in the development of their own exhibition proposals illustrating the ramifications of nationalism, racism, xenophobia, and object repatriation.  Students will learn what public policies exist today for museums and how the International Council of Museums (ICOM) is the only NGO which represents museums and museum professionals in the world, publishing public statements and declarations on issues that have impacts on cultural heritage. Students will learn how museums curate exhibitions around these issues in order to educate the greater public. Visiting museums in Aix such as Camp des Milles Museum and the Quai Branly and Deportation Museum in Paris will be integral to students’ experience and knowledge.