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Cataloguing Culture

Cataloguing Culture

Legacies of Colonialism in Museum Documentation

by Hannah Turner

Published by: UBC Press

256 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm, 23 photos, 13 tables

  • ISBN: 9780774863926
  • Published: September 2020


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 has operated through the technologies of museum bureaucracy: the ledger book, the card catalogue, and eventually the database. As Indigenous communities reclaim what is theirs, this timely work shines a light on the importance of documentation for access to and return of cultural heritage.