In Consequential Museum Spaces: Representing African American History and Culture, Bettina Messias Carbonell examines how African American history and culture is—and historically has been—represented in culturally specific and mainstream museums. Carbonell argues that African American museums provide a corrective history that is both argumentative and pragmatic: these museums educate and enlighten, and they seek to effect change. Themes examined here include settlement narratives; key movements and individuals in political, social, and military history; the treatment of slavery includingthe African, transatlantic, and American slave trade and the long history of slavery as an institution in the United States; the status of Africa—the continent and individual countries and regions—as a source of origins and traditions and a destination for reconnection with the past; and activism and human rights. Carbonell considers this museum-based work in the context of relevant historical (written) texts and in the context of contemporary theories involving memory and history, corrective history, intergenerational trauma, human rights, and historical consciousness.
Bettina Messias Carbonell is associate professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.
Chapter 1: Frames
Chapter 2. Themes Part I: Contributions to the Region and the Nation
Chapter 3. Themes Part II: Cultural Achievements—The Art Exhibition as a Rhetorical Space
Chapter 4. Themes Part III: Representing Difficult History in an Activist Present
Chapter 5. Publics
Consequential Museum Spaces: Representing African American History and Culture is original and innovative. Bettina Messias Carbonell brings a distinct voice to African American studies linked to representations of museums, culture, and memory. This comparative study ranges from African American regional museums to new exhibits and initiatives in subjects that have been largely ignored or silenced.