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Reflections of a Culture Broker: A View From the Smithsonian Paperback – November 17, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 315 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press (November 17, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156098757X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560987574
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,125,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Written by the director of the Smithsonian's Center for Folklife and Cultural Studies, this book is not an "official" accounting of Smithsonian policies, activities, and decisions but a personal essay based on firsthand knowledge. Intending to present a sorely needed casebook of professional practice for "culture brokers," Kurin offers a descriptive and analytic view of the process by which various types of major cultural presentations such as exhibits, museums, and festivals are developed, enacted, and situated. Regarding the Enola Gay controversy, he discusses the complex concept of "the search for truth and narrative" within "multiparadigmatic, deconstructed frameworks that make multiple versions of reality a fact of life." Kurin concludes that curation is process-oriented, not static, and is "a proactive effort to serve the public, increase understandability, and use the museum as a vehicle of inter- and intracultural communication." This down-to-earth, enjoyable, and thought-provoking title is highly recommended.?Jennifer L.S. Moldwin, Detroit Inst. of Arts Lib.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Written by the director of the Smithsonian's Center for Folklife and Cultural Studies, this book is not an "official" accounting of Smithsonian policies, activities, and decisions but a personal essay based on firsthand knowledge. Intending to present a sorely needed casebook of professional practice for "culture brokers," Kurin offers a descriptive and analytic view of the process by which various types of major cultural presentations such as exhibits, museums, and festivals are developed, enacted, and situated. Regarding the Enola Gay controversy, he discusses the complex concept of "the search for truth and narrative" within "multiparadigmatic, deconstructed frameworks that make multiple versions of reality a fact of life." Kurin concludes that curation is process-oriented, not static, and is "a proactive effort to serve the public, increase understandability, and use the museum as a vehicle of inter- and intracultural communication." This down-to-earth, enjoyable, and thought-provoking title is highly recommended.? (from Library Journal; Jennifer L.S. Moldwin, Detroit Inst. of Arts Lib. Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

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By C. Blomberg on September 26, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this book you start to feel like you can predict what Kurin will say when faced with different situations. This is not a bad thing. What I mean is, you learn how he looks at his job as an anthropologist/ethnographer/broker of culture. The discussions of how the visiting teams and the American hosts had to overcome assumptions and produce accurate, honest, sensitive cultural events for the Smithsonian is really fascinating. We love Kurin from his first chapter (Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief) through the freedom he allows the Festival of India performers to transform the festival, into his head-butting with Soviet beaurocrats, and right to his conclusion when he discusses the future-- globalism, tourism, indigenous products, culture policy and more. Kurin is doing amazing work and I am thankful he found time to write this book and let us know about it.
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By A Customer on December 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book includes interesting essays on ways that cultural traditions are brokered in public programs and within academic research. The case studies are especially interesting and provide excellent ideas about major issues involved in coordinating public events. The chapters on the state of anthropology, the controversy over the Enola Gay exhibit, and the future development of public programs are especially strong. The writing will be useful to coordinators of events that display history, folklife, and culture to audiences, and the book will also appeal to anyone who attends festivals, concerts, museum exhibits, and other presentations of culture.
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