Paper $35.95 ISBN: 9780774863933 Will Publish February 2021 For sale in USA only
Cloth $89.95 ISBN: 9780774863926 Published August 2020 For sale in USA only

Cataloguing Culture

Legacies of Colonialism in Museum Documentation

Hannah Turner

Cataloguing Culture

Hannah Turner

Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

256 pages | 6 x 9
Paper $35.95 ISBN: 9780774863933 Will Publish February 2021 For sale in USA only
Cloth $89.95 ISBN: 9780774863926 Published August 2020 For sale in USA only
How does material culture become data? Why does this matter, and for whom? As the cultures of indigenous peoples in North America were mined for scientific knowledge, years of organizing, classifying, and cataloguing hardened into accepted categories, naming conventions, and tribal affiliations--much of it wrong.

Cataloguing Culture examines how colonialism operates in museum bureaucracies. Using the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History as her reference, Hannah Turner organizes her study by the technologies framing museum work over 200 years: field records, the ledger, the card catalogue, the punch card, and eventually the database. She examines how categories were applied to ethnographic material culture and became routine throughout federal collecting institutions. As indigenous communities encounter the documentary traces of imperialism while attempting to reclaim what is theirs, this timely work shines a light on the ongoing colonization of this cultural heritage in the archive.
Contents
Preface
Introduction: The Making of Specimens Eloquent
1 Writing Desiderata: Defining Evidence in the Field
2 On the Margins: Paper Systems of Classification
3 Ordering Devices and Indian Files: Cataloging Ethnographic Specimens
4 Pragmatic Classification: The Routine Work of Description Post-1950
5 Object, Specimen, Data: Computerization and the Legacy of Dirty Data
Conclusion: A Museum Data Legacy for the Future
Notes; Bibliography; Index
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