The winner of 2021 Master Study of the Year Award

Anastasia Serikova (PhD candidate)

Anastasia Serikova is a Ph.D. Student of Saint-Petersburg State Institute of Culture at the Department of Museology and Cultural Heritage. She has bachelor of Museology and Cultural Heritage, Chelyabinsk State Institute of Culture (Russia). 2013-2017, and Master of Museology and Cultural Heritage, Saint-Petersburg State Institute of Culture, (Russia) 2019-2021. Serikova is the laureate of the VII All-Russian Competition for Young Scientists in the Field of Arts and Culture (2020). She participated in projects and competitions of the Center of Independent Sociological Research (CISR-Berlin 2020-2021), scientific conferences and seminars of Saint-Petersburg State Institute of Culture, Saint-Petersburg State University, and others in the field of museology and heritage.

Here is an abstract of her thesis. You can also read the full thesis below.


The Interpretation of Dissonant Heritage in Museum Institutions in Russia and Germany

The development of the humanitarian field of knowledge in the XX century had broadened the concept of heritage from protecting beautiful and expensive things, objects, and places to the understanding of the importance of tangible, rural and industrial, underwater, and other types of heritage for culture and society. This way, in the field of museum and heritage studies, appeared objects and places associated with crimes against humanity, and historical events or periods affected any countries or societies traumatically. Studying difficult heritage has begun to form as a multifaceted area of interdisciplinary humanitarian research since the end of the 20th century. However, museum practice has been still ahead of the theory of difficult heritage in many countries. This gap can be partly reduced by identifying the main cultural concepts of interpreting dissonant heritage, analyzing the practice of their application in museums. This study, in turn, is vital for understanding the ability of museums of a new type which include museums working with difficult heritage, to be influential (in Kenneth Hudson’s terminology) and to determine the development of the museum world in the 21st century

The research focuses on the interpretation of dissonant heritage as a historical and cultural phenomenon in two countries: Russia and Germany. The structure of the work includes an introduction, three chapters, a conclusion, a list of references. The first chapter is devoted to the theoretical issues: ideas of memory studies and trauma studies are outlined that influenced the museum interpretation of dissonant heritage in Russia and Germany the most: there are the concepts of J. and A. Assman, P. Nora, B. Giesen, and M. Hirsch. The second and the third chapters are dedicated to the analysis of the museum interpretation of difficult heritage in museum institutions in Germany and Russia within the framework of cultural concepts. Two attitude models to the past are considered – triumphal (typical for Russia) and tragic (spread in Germany). The study concludes generalizations identifying the main cultural concepts that influence the museum’s interpretation of dissonant heritage in Russia and Germany, and analyzing the interpretation of difficult heritage in the museum practice of the two countries. Growing out of ideas of memory, trauma, and heritage studies, the theoretical and methodological base of difficult heritage has still been built.

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