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Multiple day conferences, year-long colloquia, individual lectures, “conversations” between individuals, hands-on workshops, and Museums at Noon talks featuring our graduate students all contribute to the remarkable richness of MSP offerings.

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The Seduction, Refusal, and Retention of Universality in Collections Care

March 16, 2023 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Rackham Graduate School Assembly Hall (4th floor)

Please join the Museum Studies Program for its 20th anniversary keynote address by Cara Krmpotich, Director of Museum Studies at the University of Toronto.

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.

Cara Krmpotich is Associate Professor and Director of the Museum Studies Program at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. She is Past-President of the Council for Museum Anthropology, an Ontario Museums Association Councillor, and Co-Director of the Great Lakes Research Alliance (GRASAC), an Indigenous-Settler network committed to reuniting Great Lakes cultural belongings with Great Lakes places, knowledge systems and peoples.

Please join us online via Zoom if you are unable to attend in person:

Krmpotich flyer


March 16, 2023
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Rackham Graduate School
915 E. Washington Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 United States
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