As an interdisciplinary scholar, my work draws together perspectives from anthropology, museology, political theory, history, sociology, geography, literature, and visual and material culture studies. My recent research explores how museums represent cultural identity and difference, examining in particular the implications of various representational practices for their effects on hegemonic and counter-hegemonic understandings of cultural identity and difference in relation to nationalism. My book Exhibiting Nation: Multicultural Nationalism (and Its Limits) in Canada’s Museums, examines these themes in the Canadian context. This research is part of my longer term interest in the politics of museums and other forms of public cultural representation, both in Canada and elsewhere, in relation to nationalism, colonialism, and difference.
Caitlin Gordon-Walker received her PhD in Canadian studies from the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies at Trent University. She has an MA in museum studies from Newcastle University in the UK, and a BA in archaeology from Simon Fraser University. Her research integrates an anthropology of museums, focussed on the politics of cultural representation, with social and political thought, focussed on nationalism, colonialism, and cultural difference. She teaches primarily in the fields of anthropology, museum studies, and Canadian studies. In addition, she is the owner and editor at CGW Editing Services.
(In Press) Exhibiting Nation: Multicultural Nationalism (and Its Limits) in Canada’s Museums. Toronto; Vancouver: UBC Press.
2013. “The Process of Chop Suey: Rethinking Multicultural Nationalism at the Royal Alberta Museum.” In Diverse Spaces: Examining Identity, Heritage and Community within Canadian Public Culture, ed. Susan Ashley, pp. 16-38. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
2013. “Mapping National Identity: International Migrations through a Universal Museum.” In Cultural Challenges of Migration in Canada / Les défis culturels de la migration au Canada, eds. Klaus-Dieter Ertler and Patrick Imbert, pp. 209-222. Frankfurt: Peter Lang Edition.
This course engages in the critical study of museums as social institutions and of material culture research and classification from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Students will gain knowledge about the history and development of museums of natural and cultural history, learn to think critically about past and present practices of collection, classification, and representation within these institutions, and become familiar with contemporary debates in museum studies regarding the politics and purposes of museums in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.