Anthropology, Museums and the Body: Lessons From an Experimental Teaching Environment

Gwyneira Isaac, Kate Clark, Kelsey Adams, Heather Ashe, Katie Benz, Delaney Cummings, David Gassett, Francine Margolis, Amanda Quink, Emily Somberg

Abstract


With increased interests in solving complex problems through interdisciplinary research—how best can museums use this approach to address critical social issues? In order to answer this question, an interdisciplinary group of curators, artists and students worked together at the Smithsonian Institution to create an experimental teaching environment to rethink the disciplinary boundaries around the study of the human body. Our aim was to use a range of anthropological, art and science collections and readings to undertake the issues of race, gender, genetics, and disability, and the historic inequities resulting from colonialism. We discuss this endeavor, including the public program we developed—the Face Cast Lab—as well as lessons learned about who affects change through this type of museum-based teaching. 

Keywords


anthropology, social issues, the body, interdisciplinary teaching, museum ethics

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/mas.v17i3.3413



Copyright (c) 2019 Gwyneira Isaac, Kate Clark, Kelsey Adams, Heather Ashe, Katie Benz, Delaney Cummings, David Gassett, Francine Margolis, Amanda Quink, Emily Somberg

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360