March 16 – MSP Visiting Scholar keynote presentation
The Seduction, Refusal, and Retention of Universality in Collections Care
Keynote presentation by MSP Visiting Scholar, Cara Krmpotich, Associate Professor and museum anthropologist, faculty of Information, Director, Museum Studies Program, University of Toronto
March 16 at 5:00 pm, Rackham Graduate School Assembly Hall
Universality as an intellectual and ethical imperative has substantially shaped museum work, including the management and care of collections. Critiques of the universal—including universal museums—contribute to current and necessary conversations encouraging the decolonization of cultural institutions. At the same time, the ethical impetus of universal design offers a new set of values with which to imagine the universal in museums. In this talk, I consider moves from universalism to relativism, and from singularity to plurality. In seeking to understand why universalism, its refusal, and its retention within museum spaces matters, I propose that museums’ evolving interpretations of universality directly shape how they care—for their collections, their publics, and their environments.
Please join us online via Zoom if you are unable to attend in person: https://umich.zoom.us/j/92878966443