Alima BucciantiniAssistant Professor of History
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
College Hall 609
Education:Ph.D., Economic and Social History, University of Edinburgh
M.Sc., Nationalism Studies, University of Edinburgh
B.A., Critical Thought, Mount Holyoke College
I am a specialist in the study of museums and material culture, and I am particularly interested in how museum artifacts are used to tell the story of the nation at different times. This all started when I went to Edinburgh, Scotland to get a Masters in Nationalism Studies. I have always been tempted by interdisciplinary work, but I had no intention of becoming a historian - that was a discipline too far, I thought. I'd stay in the social sciences, in politics, and look at what made national identity so powerful as a global organizing force.
But then, wandering around the brand new Museum of Scotland, I realized that museums are spaces in which the nation and its identity are constructed and performed for the public, through the artifacts that they display, each time an exhibition is constructed. Once I started down this train of thought, I was hooked, and I haven't been able to stop poking, prodding, and asking impertinent questions behind the scenes of museums yet.
My first book, Exhibiting Scotland: Objects, Identity, and the National Museum, investigates the history of the National Museum of Scotland. In 1707 Scotland ceased to exist as an independent country and became part of Great Britain. Yet it never lost its distinct sense of identity, history, and politics. To preserve the country's unique antiquities and natural specimens, a Scottish earl founded the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1780, at the beginning of the Enlightenment's museum boom. Now numbering twelve million objects and specimens and representing everything from archaeology to applied arts and design, from social history to science and the natural world, these collections formed the foundation for what eventually became the National Museum of Scotland. This book traces how these collections have helped tell the changing stories of this country for centuries and how the museum reflects the Scots' continuing negotiation of their place within modern Britain.
In addition, I have published several articles on other projects, including:
- ‘Moving the Nation: Taking the Smithsonian to Scotland,' Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, vol. 12(1), 2012. 101-117.
- ‘Science or the Man: Commemorations of Charles Darwin in Edinburgh', with Stana Nenadic, Review of Scottish Culture, vol. 23, 2011. 118-132.
- HIST 151: Shaping of the Modern World
- HIST 204: U.S. since 1877
- HIST 224: History of Things
- IHP 202: Honors Shaping of the Modern World
- PHST 601: Introduction to Public History
- PHST 619: Public History Seminar: Commemoration and Preservation
- PHST 411/511: Studies in Material and Visual Culture
- PHST 422/522: Visual Presentation of History