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Re-presentar the religious: nation, community and identity in museums 1

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This paper examines the roles that museums play as ‘unofficially sacred' places, underscoring or challenging the religious life of a people and ‘nation'. It focuses on three key questions: (1) Do sub-national and transnational religious formations pose a challenge to or present opportunities for nation-building strategies, and what part do museums play in this struggle? (2) In what ways do re-presentations of religion in museums contest or reinforce religious community and identity? and (3) What challenges do museum displays pose to the understanding of religious meanings? This paper explores these three key questions about the intersection of religion with politics and ideologies, social relations, and cultural interpretations and transformations using an in-depth case study of an exhibition on the Jewish community in Singapore.

Keywords: Jews; Juifs; Singapore; Singapour; Singapur; communauté; community; comunidad; identidad; identity; identité; judíos; museos; museums; musées; nación; nation; religion; religión

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: National University of Singapore, Department of Geography, 1 Arts Link, Singapore, 117570

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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