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Accepted Paper:

Postcolonial Museographies: Narrative(s) of Power and Ideology Display in Macau Museum  
Patrícia de Sousa Melo (NOVA University Lisboa (FCSH))

Paper short abstract:

The Special Administrative Region of Macau is an autonomous territory, reintegrated in People's Republic of China in 1999.I will discuss the changes on Macau's Museum discourse and its effects on museum's mission and goals:representing Macau's communities and shaping local cultural identity.

Paper long abstract:

Macau is a multicultural city and a postcolonial territory, administered by the Portuguese until 1999, when its sovereignty was transferred to the PRC's Government.

Macau Museum was founded in 1998, with the following goals: to represent Macau's diverse communities, to establish bonds between them and the city's hybrid cultural heritage and to create a sense of belonging, constructing plural narratives and meanings through collections, displays and collaborative practices.

However, the strengthen of China's presence and power in and over the territory and on its cultural sector, since 1999 - particularly amongst the museum landscape -, changed the museographic discourse of the above institution. Since then, there is a shift in how territories' communities and cultural identity is approached, perceived and represented by this public organization.

I intend to demonstrate, through fieldwork and research conducted in Macau's Museum, that its practices and narratives expresses and underscores Chinese political dominance and state ideologies. This leads to the creation of narratives of cultural hegemony and, therefore, a sense of belonging to the national and cultural Chinese identity.

Through the highlighted collections and displays, the museum acts as vehicle for patriotic education and state ideology, disseminating a totalizing vision of the Chinese Identity. The postcolonial cultural identity of Macau, based on its hybrid cultural heritage, is gradually being replaced by a homogenized conception of "Chinese culture".

This situation shows the intimate connections between museums and politics; they're not neutral grounds but political arenas where collective memories and cultural identities are negotiated and renegotiated.

Panel P037
Museums as contested terrains: Memory work and politics of representation in Greater China
  Session 1 Sunday 3 June, 2018, -