"Putting the nation and the world on display: museums, multiculturalism, and nations unbound" by Prof Peggy Levitt

Past Event

17 June 2014, 3:30pm - 4:30pm


The Astor Lecture 2014 is hosted by the International Migration Institute, an Oxford Martin School Institute and the Ashmolean Museum

Speaker: Professor Peggy Levitt, Professor of Sociology, Wellesley College and co-Director, Transnational Studies Initiative, Harvard University

Summary: If, in the past, museums helped create national citizens, in today's global world, do they create global citizens too? Where do they fall in the battle between multilingual globalism and parochial nationalism? Why do particular cities create internationally focused institutions, while others create museums that look barely beyond their doors?

In this Astor Lecture, Professor Peggy Levitt will discuss the themes of her book The Bog and the Beast, to tell the story of how cutting-edge museums are making sense of immigration and globalisation. Her account is based on first-hand conversations with museum directors, curators, and policymakers; their descriptions of current and future exhibits; and the inside stories that she has collected about the famous paintings, eccentric benefactors, and iconic objects that define their institutions. Will museums walk the line between the global and the national, and will they ultimately fuel nationalist fires or help create a brave new global world?

Venue: Headley Lecture Theatre, Ashmolean Museum

About the speaker

Peggy Levitt is a Professor of Sociology at Wellesley College and the co-Director of the Transnational Studies Initiative at Harvard University. In 2014, She received an Honorary Doctoral Degree from Maastricht University. She was a Senior Visiting Scholar at the Universities of Deusto (Bilbao), Latvia, and Valencia in 2013, the Visiting International Fellow at the Vrije University in Amsterdam from 2010-2012 and the Willie Brandt Guest Professor at the University of Malmö in 2009.

Her books include Religion on the Edge (Oxford University Press, 2012), God Needs No Passport: Immigrants and the Changing American Religious Landscape (New Press 2007), The Transnational Studies Reader (Routledge 2007), The Changing Face of Home: The Transnational Lives of the Second Generation (Russell Sage 2002), and The Transnational Villagers (UC Press, 2001).

She has also edited special volumes of Racial and Ethnic Studies, International Migration Review, Global Networks, Mobilities, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. A film based on her work, Art Across Borders, came out in 2009. Her current book project, The Bog and the Beast: Museums, the Nation, and the Globe, explores how museums around the world are responding to immigration and globalisation.