Museums today play an important role as a space for learning about science and the world. For this article, the phenomenon of human evolution is explored as an example of knowledge production about change. Empirical materials on exhibitions of human evolution were collected from visits to 25 historical and natural history museums.
The empirical materials are analyzed together with a posthuman version of evolutionary theory, with a focus on aspects of change. This is based on a post-anthropocentric and relational approach to human evolution and change. The analysis shows that (i) museums face an anthropocentric tension, (ii) evolutionary change is seen as both an inherent quality of the individual species and as an entanglement of humans and the natural environment, (iii) the notion of ‘the first human’ produces various and contentious versions of knowledges about evolutionary change.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Simon Ceder
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