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TRANSMAT workshop with Erasmus Mundus Master’s students

NOVA University of Lisbon | October 19, 2023

History in the Public Sphere is an international master’s program run by the Central European University, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Università degli Studi Firenzi and Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, in association with the Institut national des langues et civilizations orientales. The course is jointly funded by the European Union’s Erasmus Mundus program and the Inter-University Exchange Project (IUEP) of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

In this two-year study program, students are invited to reflect on the ways in which the past is represented, contested and negotiated in the public sphere, exploring various contexts from the early modern period to the present, in a comparative and transnational way. On October 19th, as part of the Lisbon semester, which runs between October and January of the second year, students from the curricular seminar  ‘Museums as Spaces of Memory, Identity and Activism’ engaged with the TRANSMAT project and were presented the results gathered by the research team so far.

They were also invited to reflect on the future of these collections, and the forms of displaying objects collected in colonial contexts. What do different audiences expect to learn about the objects? How to communicate the context of collection and the object’s path? What was its initial meaning in the context of origin and how has it been transmitted (or not) by museums? Who brought these objects to the institutions, and with what purposes? How are we to reconstruct their itineraries and the biographies of its former owners/collectors? What primary sources should we engage with and question to answer these questions? Where are these sources kept?

These and other topics animated the students, of multiple nationalities, who participated in this workshop. Their opinions and suggestions were recorded and will integrate the results of the TRANSMAT project, with full transparency regarding the context in which they were produced.

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