Representing Others

Anthony Badame, Rotem Diamant, & Jasmine Proteau

The Power of the Pipe: A Material Culture Case Study of Hopewell Effigy Pipes
Anthony Badame
Hopewell effigy pipes played an important role in Hopewell ritual and spirituality. Today, these pipes are displayed in museum contexts and prized by collectors. Yet, to many contemporary First Nations, the act of collecting these pipes is concerning.  This presentation looks at some of the contemporary issues surrounding the collecting of these pipes and discuss my own experience trying to create a pipe to better understand its materiality. This lighting presentation was adapted from my final project for MSL 2360: Museums and Indigenous Communities.

Women Drawing Identity: Graphic Autobiographies, Surveillance, and Power
Rotem Diamant
Traditionally in comic book scholarship women’s graphic autobiographies are only traced back as a responsive movement to 1960’s male-dominated underground comix. However, women’s graphic life narratives are rooted in diary writing and draw from the diary and other archives to map out identity, expose the fragility of these archives, and visually show “authenticity” to provoke empathetic readerships. This presentation will emphasize the importance of graphic life narrative collections in libraries, as well as the importance of programs that encourage women to share their stories through DIY craft culture. Autobiographical comics and diaries narrate from a point beyond what is seen, revealing intimate desires and experiences of the private sphere that are then thrust into the “front region” of surveillance through publication and mass-production. Graphic autobiography sets out to make these private experiences public, infusing the genre with prestige and credibility, and privileging diverse ways of being.

Shades of Red, Shades of Grey: The Role of Cultural Context in Shaping Museums of Communism
Jasmine Proteau
In the post-communist era, Eastern-European museums face three key issues in their attempts to interpret the history of daily life under communism: feelings of nostalgia, presenting both individual and collective histories, and something I have chosen to call ‘purposeful forgetting.’ As socialism was experienced differently in each regional context, a single country or museum does not allow for enough comparative analysis to fully examine these issues alone. This work will focus on comparing three institutions across Eastern-Europe: the Museum of Communism in Prague, the GDR Museum in Berlin, and the Romanian Peasant Museum in Bucharest. Two central questions guided the approach of this work: how have these museums, and the countries they represent, portrayed, memorialized – or rejected – socialism in Eastern Europe? More specifically, what issues have these museums faced in preserving a controversial and raw past and how do their approaches connect or diverge? Though all are faced with complex interpretive issues, each museum is unique in its approach.