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Erin Pevan

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August 20, 2017

Nationalism and Constructing the Nation in Norwegian Museums

August 20, 2017 | By | No Comments

As a continuation of my examination of Norwegian national identity and the various medium in which this can occur, during this summer I expanded my project site to go beyond looking at literature for representations or depictions of Norwegian identity and decided to focus upon the conveyance of material culture in space, particularly through the space of the museum.

My newest pages, under the heading “Identity in Museums” examines how Norwegian museums, in particular the UiO Cultural History Museum and the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, act as a space for forming the nation. My additions to the site contribute to the exploration of Norwegian national identity through (quoting myself, taken from the additional information on my site):

  • I aim to more closely examine the questions that arose from my visit to the Museum of Cultural History, but through the context of the relationships between the museum spaces and their representations, and the discourses that influence, regulate, and construct the narratives that embody the material culture present in museums.
  • In particular, I focus upon the representation of the nation and the influence of nationalism upon museum spaces, and how through the space of the museum, constructions of what embodies the nation and the national identity are created for and by visitors.
  • I also consider the situation of the place of the museum in Norway within the city versus outside the city in a rural setting, and how this urbanized condition also influences museums in unique ways that also further contribute to narratives of the nation relative to the world.
  • Ultimately, this section aims to discuss the narratives and identities of the nation as constructed in the museum space, and how discourses of nationalism and the city in the museum space create a dialogic of Othering, both externally on a global scale and internally through the marginalization of groups that lie outside of internal boundaries of the Norwegian national identity.”

The new material on the site consists of a general introduction to the purpose of the section, the ties to my previous research into nationalism and national identity, and short overviews, along with a map view created via Leaflet and Open Street Map, of the two aforementioned museums examined thus far in this project. A separate page includes my discussions and conclusions regarding the creation of nation in Norway through its museums, with particular focus on discourses of location, exhibition and globalization, and representation and silences.

With my present location now situated in Oslo, I intend to continue expanding this CHI project, and in particular this section, to include more museums in and around the city of Oslo, and to continue the examination of these spaces as centers of nation building.

URL for additional materials for Summer 2017: http://clmsproject.matrix.msu.edu/museums.html

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