Spring 2022 MUSE Course Descriptions
MUSE 400: Critical Museology in the African Diaspora
Dr Lucy Mensah, Tuesdays, 12:00pm-2:30pm CST, CRN: 42065 (3 undergraduate hours or 4 graduate hours)
Is it possible to decenter Western theories and practices of museology? This course approaches this question by exploring how curators, scholars, artists, architects, and writers of African descent have attempted to reconcile the imperialist histories of museums with their reparative possibilities, among them being the museum’s role in producing and circulating antiracist. counter-histories. The course will consider how museum practitioners of the African Diaspora. have addressed issues such as object display, collecting, provenance, interpretation, conservation, organizational culture, and institutional architecture. At stake are the terms by which black historiographies are produced, sustained, and protected in the face of dominant myths around the value of black memory and cultural production.
MUSE 400/546: Publishing Fwd: Museums Journal
Therese Quinn, Wednesdays, 12:00pm-2:30pm CST, CRN: 44151 (3 undergraduate hours) OR 42068 (4 graduate hours)
This seminar will produce Fwd: Museums Journal 2022, addressing the theme, “Manifesto.” Possible topics include: Protest & Revolution, Boundaries & Dreams, Counter Public(s), Public Engagement, Racial Justice & Accountability, Unionization, Fair Wages. This peer-reviewed journal features research, essays, interviews, reviews, artwork, and interventions. Students participate in all aspects of production, from reviewing submissions and editing, to design and publicity, and each receives a completed copy. Each member of the publication team is also invited to submit artwork and writing to the current issue. Check out the full Call for Submissions on Instagram @fwd_museums and the journal website:
This section of MUSE 546 is open to all graduate students. Undergraduates should register for the MUSE 400 section of this class.
MUSE 400: Change Everything: Feminist Environmentalisms and Radical Worldmaking
Ronak K. Kapadia, Tuesdays, 3:30pm-6:00pm CST, CRN: 45433 (3 undergraduate hours) OR 45434 (4 graduate hours)
This course examines the concept of environmental justice and climate catastrophe through an interdisciplinary feminist and anti-racist lens with a focus on the arts and humanities (science fiction literature, memoir, visual art, and multimedia performance). We begin by examining different attempts to define “environmental justice” as a project central to sustainability efforts at UIC, in Chicago, and across the United States. Various frameworks analyze environmental issues through the lens of social justice and human inequality, specifically categories of race, class, sexuality, and gender. The working thesis for this class is that the arts and humanities are critical to this process because 1) they serve a documentary function, providing insight into complex historical factors driving environmental injustice and 2) they function as a form of “speculative worldmaking,” providing underrepresented communities a platform to plan for a Just Transition.

We will engage with environmental policy, history, museum & exhibition studies, and literary and cultural theory, including fields such as settler colonialism and Indigenous studies, critical ethnic studies, and feminist science studies. We will study how structural inequality drives the uneven distribution of environmental risk. We will also consider the generative potential of the arts and humanities for supporting environmental justice struggles and imagining a just transition, a concept long championed by environmental justice and labor organizations to describe an alternative economic paradigm predicated on environmental sustainability and economic and social equity.

MUSE 546: Critical Public Histories
Jennifer Brier, Wednesdays, 3:00pm-5:30pm CST, CRN: 42258
Critical Public Histories will explore how museums, cultural venues and cultural producers have engaged with and produced representations of racial justice, gender justice and social justice over the last hundred or so years. We will begin with a series of methodological investigations into how people produce history for public audiences and then conclude with a set of topical investigations on subjects including: slavery and abolition, settler-colonialism and HIV/AIDS. Sometimes our focus will be the physical spaces of museums and galleries, sometimes we will turn to questions of memory and longing. In all cases we will think about how the “public” functions in the work and conceptualization of public history.
MUSE 542. Exhibition Practices
Emma Turner-Trujillo, Mondays, 3:00pm-5:30pm CST, CRN:42066​
Core course in exhibition making history and practices. Exposure to the mechanics of preparing exhibitions in physical and virtual environments; exhibition planning, design, management, and marketing.
MUSE 544. Public Engagement in Museums​
Jen Delos Reyes, Thursdays, 12:20pm-3:00pm CST, CRN: 42067
Development of methods of audience and public interaction with exhibiting institutions and forms. Includes practicum in publicity, promotion, audience-development assessment.