The Overflow of Secrets:
The Disclosure of Soviet Repression in Museums as an Excess
This article uses the metaphor of overflow to understand the role played by the revelation of previously secret experience in the controversial Museum of Genocide Victims in Vilnius, Lithuania. It shows how efforts to disclose Soviet repression and to consolidate and sustain a particular community of survivors, the Union of Political Prisoners and Deportees, produced an “excess” of revelation in a context of radical political change, which in the process led to a failure to represent the complexity of Lithuania’s past, by sidelining the Holocaust in its narrative of repression. In contrast to other studies that understand this Museum as an instrument of a particular governmental ideology, I suggest an alternative explanation of the origins and character of this museum, arguing that it should be understood as a community museum. I argue that the Museum’s failure to provide a balanced presentation of the past is better understood as an effect of an excessive desire to reveal the particular experiences of this community, which I describe as an overflow of meanings, not merely a result of the governmental elite’s will to suppress alternative versions of the past.
Rindzevičiūtė, Eglė. “The Overflow of Secrets: The Disclosure of Soviet Repression in Museums as an Excess”. Current Anthropology vol. 56 (2015): S000–S000. Ahead of print.
Full text here: Current Anthropology
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