The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Debunking Myths

At the last Interpretation/Representation Research Group meeting we had a really good discussion about 'interpretation', and - in particular - the deconstruction of so-called scientific 'facts'. It reminded me of a really interesting blog, Say It Ain’t So, Joe: things you must unlearn before your die, which exists to debunk some of those historical, cultural and political myths which are accepted, erroneously, as fact.

Well worth a look.


Ceri said...

Oh joy oh joy, I could spend SO many hours looking through all this!! However, it also makes me ponder why the dominant explanation so endures despite the attempts of others to redress the balance or present the alternative perspective. I hestitate to use the word truth... after all it is all an interpretation ha ha (does anyone else get a bit hysterical over all this like me? I was reading about hysteria this morning incidentally courtesy of Foucault so it seems my humours are all out of balance). Anyway, back to the original point which was why do some explanations endure at the expense of others? I gather there is no simple response to that :)

Amy said...

Cos we're programmed to defer to authority, I guess. So, if a scientist, for example, (whom we believe is an objective observer of facts) says something is so, we have no cause not to trust their judgement, or version of events.

Seriously, if you think too much about all this stuff you will get a bit hysterical!!

Ceri said...

Yes, you're right, it is to do with authority and power and if enough people believe in something then it will become a 'truth.' Yet a lot of these 'facts' which are 'wrong' are actually not technically put forward by anybody except the shadowy beings in power who populate the fervid imagination of writers such as Foucault... so we cannot exactly say that authority does privilege a certain world view and often it absorbs the minority world view as well in order to neutralise it (such as Christianity which started as a rebellious, minority belief and is now the dominant force itself). Anyway what I think I am saying is that I think it is more than just authority, the explanation has to fit into our own world view as well, no?

Amy said...

Yep, it has to confirm our suspicions about the world too.

(My head hurts!)