When the marginalized are the majority: the Raffles Library & Museum in Singapore

LUYT, Brendan (2018) When the marginalized are the majority: the Raffles Library & Museum in Singapore. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2018 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Transform Libraries, Transform Societies in Session 95 - Library History.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/2174
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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.

Abstract

When the marginalized are the majority: the Raffles Library & Museum in Singapore

The era of formal colonialism is long behind us and its system of oppression no longer inspires fear or anger. This has generated a certain forgetfulness of the uglier realities of that historical period and in the absence of competing discourses it represents the creation of a long-term collective memory that negates or makes invisible the exploitation, misery and inhumanity that was the cornerstone of the colonial experience for the majority subjected to its control. Library history has a role to play here, if perhaps a small one in the grand scheme of things, for it can provide counter-discourses, in other words, evidence of this other face of colonialism – the neglect of the majority in favour of an alien minority. In this article, the Raffles Museum and Library provides both an example of this nostalgia as well as the possibility of a counter-discourse.

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