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MUSEO-POLIS. A Summer School on Museum, Democracy and Citizenship in Southern Europe

Link the memory of an ancient Mediterranean city and the most current debates on the construction of heritage!

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Master's
  • Phd
  • Short-term
  • CIVIS Hub 2
Course dates
22-24 June 2022

The museum and its open access to the general public materialise a symbolic and effective relationship between the state and citizens, a «museum reason» which fosters the creation of democratic identities and regimes of legitimation in constant mutation. The museum institution, whose foundation lies in a regime of public ownership of cultural goods and an egalitarian distribution of those symbolic elements, has diverse origins in Europe and retains some legacies with the collective political imaginaries of the Ancien Régime. In contrast to the cabinets of «marvels», antiquities or natural history that proliferated in royal palaces or private residences throughout Europe during the Early Modern Age (1453-1789), a foundational break was achieved with the French Revolution and, above all, with the Convention (1793-94), articulating around the musée a project for the re-foundation of identity and popular sovereignty.

From a multidisciplinary perspective, with a constant enquiry into its Early Modern origins, this Summer School proposes to analyse the history of the relationship between museum and democracy in the course of the 19th-21st centuries in Southern Europe, with an emphasis on the study of museum institutions and their links with the regime of popular sovereignty from which they emanate, taking into account the diversity of these imaginaries and of democratic systems in a transnational perspective. The geographical and cultural space of Southern Europe offers a privileged field of study, since the diversity of the experiences of democratic ruptures and transitions in the 20th century allows us to observe the challenges and the ways in which museums act in the contemporary re-foundation of democratic citizenship. We will analyse the singularity of the relationship between museums and democracy in the European context, particularly in the Southern countries (Spain, Greece, Portugal) which joined the European space in the 1980s and 1990s and which have undergone rapid democratisation processes, in comparison with France and Italy, two of the first founding countries of the EEC.

The diversity and current mutations of museum institutions (art museums, history museums, museums of society, etc.), particularly in their various relationships to religious or migratory phenomena, or to the processes of writing history, offer a perspective for analysing from very diverse disciplinary fields (such as political history, history of cultural institutions, political science, art history, sociology, law, anthropology, and philosophy) the processes of representation and legitimisation of democratic identities under construction or in transformation, particularly in the context of the current crisis of democratic representation, so marked by phenomena that Wendy Brown has described as globalised «de-democratisation».

Main topics addressed 

  • Museum as fabrication of a heritage status in European societies.
  • Patrimonialization, transmission and creation of political cultures and identities.
  • Evolution of the History and Memory from the Ancien Régime to the Contemporary crisis of the egalitarian/democratic model of heritage and culture. 

Learning outcomes

By studying the normative operations, theoretical discourses and institutional practices that contribute to the fabrication of a heritage status (associate to the Museum), the Summer School would allow the CIVIS students to analyse the patrimonialization that projects, transmits and creates an embodiment of national sovereignty, collective identities and ways of sharing culture. The evolution of the paradigms of values associated with heritage actualises in different ways a general relationship with the past and the "memorabilia", which can be analysed as many strategies of global rewriting of history by certain communities. This approach to the phenomenon of heritage in diachrony may, for example, take into account the conception of heritage as a treasure of sovereignty in the Early Modern Age, and then the advent of heritage as a repository of the citizenship values of the 19th Century Nation-State, or, finally, the emergence and the contemporary crisis of the democratic model of the egalitarian sharing of heritage and culture.

Dates: 22-24 June 2022 Language: English, French, Italian, Spanish
Format: Physical N° of CIVIS scholarships: 19
Location: Marseille, France Duration: 3 days
Contact: ECTS: 1*

*The recognition of ECTS depends on your home university. 

This CIVIS course will be running for 3 full days, from 22 to 24 June. It will take place in Marseille, France. 19 CIVIS students (except those from Aix-Marseille Université) will be selected to receive a grant to support their travel and stay in Marseille. A total of 25 participants will be selected (including students from Aix-Marseille Université).

The seminar will take place at Mucem’s premises. It consists, on the one hand, of historiographical lectures and visit-workshops in the morning, and, on the other hand, of methodological and research workshops in the afternoon coordinated by members of the MUSEO-POLIS team.


This CIVIS course is open to Master's and PhD students at one of CIVIS member universities, enrolled or interested in the following fields of study: History, Art History, Law, Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science.

The selection will be based on applicants' academic records, educational profile and language skills. Priority will be given to those candidates who are currently working on a doctoral thesis or a Master’s degree in fields related to the topics covered in the seminar.

Application process

Applications must be sent to by 25 March 2022.

Candidates must attach in the same document and in PDF format, a cover letter and a curriculum vitae, as well as specify their research topic and their knowledge of languages (English, French, Italian, Spanish). To this end, they must submit a short text (500 words maximum) arguing their reasons for enrolling in the Summer School.

Candidates will be informed of the outcome of the selection process by 31 March 2022.


The assessment will be based on a critical essay about the main topics from the conferences, sessions, workshops and debates of MUSEO-POLIS' Summer School. Students will be allowed to write the papers in the four languages of understanding (English, French, Italian or Spanish).

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.


  • Cyril ISNART (CNRS, IDEMEC, Aix-Marseille Université),
  • Nicolas MORALES (Aix-Marseille Université, TELEMMe, CNRS)
  • Roberto QUIRÓS ROSADO (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
  • Elena VALERI (Sapienza Università di Roma)


  • Raphaël BORIES (Mucem)
  • Camille FAUCOURT (Mucem)
  • Alexandra GALITZINE-LOUMPET (CESSMA-Université de Paris)
  • Mireille JACOTIN (Mucem)
  • Olivier CHRISTIN (Université de Neuchâtel / École pratique des hautes études, Paris)
  • Jesús CARRILLO CASTILLO (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)