Accepted Paper:

The political use of Museums in Contemporary Maghreb.  

Author:

Charlotte Jelidi (University of Tours)

Paper short abstract:

Our contribution will show how progressively the Maghreb museum landscape was constituted ; we will analyze its stakes and their evolution over time, and finally discuss the paradoxes of a museum landscape partly created exogenously.

Paper long abstract:

By focusing on the Maghreb, our contribution proposes to give useful elements of comparison for the understanding of the specificities of the museums of the Middle East. In Maghreb, museums have a political role from the beginning of their foundation until today. The colonial authorities set up the first museums in Maghreb, although the project of creating a museum is already mentioned before colonization. The museums are created in colonial context to contribute to the legitimization of the colonial power. In Algeria and Tunisia, Archeology museums accompagny the conquest, and in Morocco, crafts museums are the witnesses of the policy of indirect rule led by Lyautey,.. After independence, new museums are opened to materialize the political change and the power in place, like the Mujahid museums in Algeria. Every major political change paves the way for the creation of new museums, such as the Tunisian Arab Spring which sees museums in the glory of Bourguiba (in Skan├Ęs, for example). But the political aims of the museum, even if they are very strong here, are combined with other issues, especially ecomic, mostly in Morocco and Tunisia where tourism is very important. Our contribution will show how progressively the Maghreb museum landscape was constituted; we will analyze its stakes and their evolution over time, and finally discuss the paradoxes of a museum landscape partly created exogenously.

Panel P030
Art and History Museums in the Middle East as places of social and political production