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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Politics of Memory: Ghana's Cape Coast Castle Museum Exhibition 'Crossroads of People, Crossroads of Trade'
Author:Kreamer, Christine M.
Periodical:Ghana Studies
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:conservation of cultural heritage
slave trade
African Americans
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Education and Oral Traditions
Abstract:The exhibition 'Crossroads of People, Crossroads of Trade' at the Cape Coast Castle Museum in Ghana covering 500 years of Ghanaian history stirred up a great deal of controversy. In this essay, the author, who was one of the American experts advising on the exhibition, looks at the globalization of memory and the politics of cultural representation of an international economic and cultural development project, The Ghana Natural Resource Conservation and Historic Preservation Project. In the case of the Ghanaian castles the situation was particularly charged because of their inescapable association with the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Pertinently, the greatest criticism of both the project and the exhibition has come from expatriate African Americans living in Ghana. A subtext in this controversy has been the extent to which Ghanaians are willing to remember and discuss the role of their ancestors in facilitating the slave trade. An acrimonious point of discussion is the absence of details of African complicity in the exhibition. The author concludes that the sense of memory and identity many African Americans feel with sites of enslavement nurtures in them a shared feeling of ownership of the sites. This often conflicts with African visions of their use and disposition. Hence they become contested terrain. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]