oa African Yearbook of Rhetoric - The museography of disaster : museums faced with the material traces of extreme violence

Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2220-2188
  • E-ISSN: 2305-7785



Since the publication of the book edited by Appadurai in 1986 and especially since Kopytoff's contribution, we have known that objects have a social life. From that point on, research on material culture has taken a decidedly culturalist turn, based on the notion that objects have a social and cultural biography. Simultaneously a trace, document, and support for social memory, every object, every artefact, is indeed the product of a world. It offers the possibility of directly reconstructing practices (ways of doing), representations (ways of thinking), and value systems. But to what extent can things render extreme violence intelligible? I have chosen to focus more particularly on museums dedicated to mass crimes and genocides in order to understand the place attributed to objects and the role they are given.

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