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Representation and the Republic: North African art and material culture in Paris

Representation and the Republic: North African art and material culture in Paris
Representation and the Republic: North African art and material culture in Paris
North African art and material culture – textiles, pottery, jewelry and other objects – have been exhibited and sold in France since the nineteenth century. Today these objects are central to both state-run museum projects and to projects of self-representation carried out by people of North African origin within France. The dissertation draws on eighteen months of field research in Paris, bringing together both archival and ethnographic research to explore the symbolic production of North African objects as they circulate through different contexts, both historically and today.

The first two chapters examine the historical presence of the arts of North Africa in France, starting with the nineteenth and early twentieth century Universal and Colonial Exhibitions and including colonial-era efforts to standardize and commodify Moroccan artisanal production for sale in France. The second chapter analyzes collection practices at France’s main ethnographic museum, the Musée de l’Homme, with a particular focus on the 1934 Exposition du Sahara. Chapters three to five explore the circulation of North African art and material culture in Paris today. An analysis of the reconceptualization of colonial-era collections from North Africa at the new Musée du Quai Branly is followed by an examination of the work of Berber cultural associations, where similar objects are exhibited, discussed, and used. The final chapter explores sites where North African objects are sold in Paris today, with a particular focus on distributors who conceptualize their work in terms of cultural exchange.

Throughout the dissertation there is a special attention to the ways in which North African cultural objects circulate ambiguously through the categories of art, artifact, commodity, and “diasporic object.” This term draws attention to uses of material culture that are oriented both toward the creation a specific ethnic identity and to creating a space for that identity within contemporary France, in response to current debates over republicanism and the place of minority communities. By exploring the ways in which North African art and material culture are given new meanings in the transnational context, the dissertation reveals how cultural objects are implicated in arguments about the politics of representation and contemporary national identities.
Bernasek, Lisa
73ff920f-617a-4ab1-9b07-c42bb799e919
Bernasek, Lisa
73ff920f-617a-4ab1-9b07-c42bb799e919

Bernasek, Lisa (2007) Representation and the Republic: North African art and material culture in Paris. Harvard University, Social Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies, Doctoral Thesis, 306pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

North African art and material culture – textiles, pottery, jewelry and other objects – have been exhibited and sold in France since the nineteenth century. Today these objects are central to both state-run museum projects and to projects of self-representation carried out by people of North African origin within France. The dissertation draws on eighteen months of field research in Paris, bringing together both archival and ethnographic research to explore the symbolic production of North African objects as they circulate through different contexts, both historically and today.

The first two chapters examine the historical presence of the arts of North Africa in France, starting with the nineteenth and early twentieth century Universal and Colonial Exhibitions and including colonial-era efforts to standardize and commodify Moroccan artisanal production for sale in France. The second chapter analyzes collection practices at France’s main ethnographic museum, the Musée de l’Homme, with a particular focus on the 1934 Exposition du Sahara. Chapters three to five explore the circulation of North African art and material culture in Paris today. An analysis of the reconceptualization of colonial-era collections from North Africa at the new Musée du Quai Branly is followed by an examination of the work of Berber cultural associations, where similar objects are exhibited, discussed, and used. The final chapter explores sites where North African objects are sold in Paris today, with a particular focus on distributors who conceptualize their work in terms of cultural exchange.

Throughout the dissertation there is a special attention to the ways in which North African cultural objects circulate ambiguously through the categories of art, artifact, commodity, and “diasporic object.” This term draws attention to uses of material culture that are oriented both toward the creation a specific ethnic identity and to creating a space for that identity within contemporary France, in response to current debates over republicanism and the place of minority communities. By exploring the ways in which North African art and material culture are given new meanings in the transnational context, the dissertation reveals how cultural objects are implicated in arguments about the politics of representation and contemporary national identities.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: September 2007
Organisations: Modern Languages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 351482
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/351482
PURE UUID: 3aa8243b-3854-4404-8a65-e019a61683f3

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Date deposited: 16 Jan 2014 15:49
Last modified: 16 Jan 2019 17:33

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