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Ideas regarding the role of the museum have become increasingly contentious. In the last fifteen years, scholars have pointed to ways in which states (especially imperialist states) use museums to showcase looted artefacts, to document their geographic expansion, to present themselves as the guardians of national treasure, and to educate citizens and subjects. At the same time, a great deal of attention has been paid to reshaping national histories and values in the wake of the collapse of the Communist bloc and the emergence of the European Union. (Re)Visualizing National History considers the wave of monument and museum building in Europe as part of an attempt to forge consensus in politically unified but deeply divided nations.
This collection explores ways in which museums exhibit emerging national values and how the establishment of these new museums (and new exhibits in older museums) reflects the search for a consensus among different generational groups in Europe and North America. The contributors come from a variety of countries and academic backgrounds, and speak from such varied perspectives as cultural studies, history, anthropology, sociology, and museum studies. (Re)Visualizing National History is a unique and interdisciplinary volume that offers insights on the dilemmas of present-day European culture, manifestations of nationalism in Europe, and the debates surrounding museums as sites for the representation of politics and history.