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Heterotopic Dissonance in the Museum Representation of Pacific Island Cultures

Miriam Kahn
American Anthropologist
New Series, Vol. 97, No. 2 (Jun., 1995), pp. 324-338
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/681965
Page Count: 15
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Heterotopic Dissonance in the Museum Representation of Pacific Island Cultures
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Abstract

Two exhibits, the Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific Peoples at the American Museum of Natural History (1971) and Traveling the Pacific at the Field Museum of Natural History (1989), are compared. Foucault's concept of heterotopia is used to examine why, in spite of major recent changes in museum philosophy and technology, the subtexts of the two exhibits remain remarkably similar. Both confuse spatial distance with temporal flow, creating an incoherent framework of disjunctive orders.

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