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[Cross-posted from HSAfrica] From: H-Net List on South & Southern Africa [mailto:H-SAFRICA@H-NET.MSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Joan Wardrop Sent: 19 October 2012 07:04 To: H-SAFRICA@H-NET.MSU.EDU Subject: CFP: Museums and the Idea of Historical Progress *Museums and the Idea of Historical Progress* ICMAH/COMCOL Annual Conference 2012 - 07 to 9 November 2012 Organizers: Archaeology and History ICOM South Africa ICMAH, COMCOL and ICOM South Africa have the pleasure inviting you to participate in their joint international conference. The conference will be at Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town (Republic of South Africa), 7-9 November, 2012. *Details about separate sessions for COMCOL and ICMAH for day 3 will be sent to registered participants. The topic of the conference is to examine various social, political and economic utopian ideologies and experiments and the way they are represented in museums and their collections. *TOPIC* The idea of the modern museum, at the time of its invention in various European countries during the age of high colonialism and the industrial revolution, was based on a number of attributes that sit comfortably with the idea of utopia. The promise of modernism, i.e. the notion that progress and equity is guaranteed by the state and manifest in society, has indeed been an embedded phenomenon underlying much of human history. These seemingly predominant Western paradigms influence many of our museums until today. What all utopias in past and present have in common is the inspiration of large groups of people by the possibility of a future society, free from a difficult present. Varieties of capitalism, socialism, liberalism, nationalism, colonialism, cold war ideological battles, and totalitarianism generated a myriad of social systems and ideologies as expressions of utopias to be achieved. The theories and practice of values, vision and practice everywhere in the world. Political, economic, social and cultural differences between and within North and South, and also between Asia and the Western World, of course exist. They have inspired a variety of ideas about human rights, tolerance, recognition and acceptance of diversity in our societies. By implication, these also inspired models and ideas to make living in peace and harmony possible. Despite all their differences, it can be argued, that this has been a theme of enduring significance in museums. The last two decades it seems the world has been thoroughly turned upside down. Much discussed issues are the fall off grace of industrialism or capitalism, the violence and discrimination of post-colonialism, the broken promises of nationalism or even supra-nationalism, of socialist or communist internationalism, and the ending of the Cold War with the alleged certainty of a free Europe. Familiar utopian ideologies no longer offer the prospect of a solution. The future seems ambiguous and uncertain. At the same time, societies are developing new - more interdisciplinary and global - ways of rethinking utopian ideas of capitalism, colonialism, empire building, modernism, and post-colonialism. It means for some that the world is heading for a new utopian dream of less dependence on former colonial powers, of greater South-South, and East-South political and economic co-operation, of a greater equal treatment of citizens and nations. Or is this another mirage, another dystopia disguised as utopia? The Conference will give participants an opportunity to discuss and deliberate on the above issues. It will serve as a platform for experts, young professionals and participants from different countries to share their knowledge and to forge partnerships. For more details visit the conference website www.icom-sa.org.za or e-mail Laura Gibson at <firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org><email@example.com> ** ** *DRAFT PROGRAM* *Theme: Museums and the Idea of Historical Progress* *Tuesday, 6 November 2012* 18.00 - 20.00 Opening Diner *Wednesday, 7 November* Joint program Iziko South African Museum 25 Queen Victoria Steet 9.00 - 9.30 Opening of the conference Welcoming speeches Rooksana Omar, ICOM SA Jari Harju, ICMAH 9.30-10.30 Keynote speech Mokena Makeka: (title to be confirmed) South Africa 10.30-11.00 Coffee and tee 11.00-12.30 Session 1 *Exhibiting the Human Image: John Ruskin's Effort to Present the Past* Stephen Keck, American University of Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) ** *Artefacts Rights and Human Obligations. Archaeological Examples from South African Museums* Sven Ouzman, Iziko South African Museum (South Africa) *Art Museum in Africa - A Utopian Myth* Anitra Nettleton, Centre for Creative Arts of Africa (South Africa) 12.30-13.30 Lunch 13.30-15.00 Session 2 *It Looks Pretty from the Distance, Doesn't it? A Closer Look at the Process of Rediscovering the Jewish Heritage in Poland* Aleksandra Janus & Dorota Kawecka, Jagellinian University (Poland) / Reinwardt Academy (Netherlands) Museum Collections between Ideology and Reflection Tanja Rozenbergar Sega & Tone Kregar, Museum of Recent History Celje (Slovenia) Utopia of War? South African Participation in WWII as Depicted in the South African National War Museum 1947-75 Susan Blendulf, Ditsong Museums of South Africa (South Africa) 15.00-15.30 Coffee and tee 15.30-16.30 Pitch of ideas for cooperation projects Presentations by Ruth Sithole: AFRICOM and Rooksana Omar: ICOM-SA 18.00 Evening programme ** *Thursday, 8 November* Joint program Iziko South African Museum 25 Queen Victoria Street Keynote speech Connected Worlds* VU University, Amsterdam, Netherlands 10.30-12.00 Session 3 *The Utopian Space* *Expectations, Disillusionment and Hope* Balthi du Plessis, Balthi du Plessis & Associates (South Africa) *Rethinking the Notion of a Museum and its Utopian Ideologies in a Post-Colonial State* Njabulo Chipangura, University of Western Cape 12.00-13.00 Lunch 13.00-14.30 Session 4 *Collections and Representation: Towards an Inclusive Way of Collecting* William Gamboa Sierra, Universidad Externado de Colombia (Colombia) ** *Seeking Common Ground: How Digital Museums Promote Peace and Progress in Post-Conflict Societies* Laura Kate Gibson, ETHER Initiative (South Africa) *Images for the Future* Merja Diaz & Elisabeth Boogh (Sweden) 14.30-15.00 Coffee and tee 15.00-16.00 Conclusions from the joint days Prof Shahid Vawda, Wits University 18.00 Evening program: Conference closure *Saturday, 10 November* Excursion day: sponsored by RIM