Peggy Levitt sociologist, author and professor

Reviews of Artifacts and Allegiances

“Of considerable interest to scholars, museum professionals, and others, this ambitious, well-written, and significant book belongs in large public, academic, and special libraries. Highly recommended for interdisciplinary museum and visual arts collections.”—Cheryl Ann Lajos, Library Journal 

“In this diligent international study, Levitt...uses a series of case studies to evaluate how museums are adapting to the new global environment, which is marked by rapid immigration and social change. Levitt sets up some revealing comparisons among institutions. …an illuminating study that will be of interest to academics and museum professionals working in the field today.”Publisher’s Weekly 

“Levitt brings sociological expertise to provide fascinating and important insights into how museums negotiate their national and cosmopolitan remits in the face of globalization. Artifacts and Allegiances deserves to be widely read not only by scholars but also by those directly involved in museum work and in figuring out the directions that museums should take today.”
—Sharon Macdonald, author of Memorylands: Heritage and Identity in Europe Today

“The world is constantly shaped by how it is seen and imagined. Museums are among the basic media for this phenomenon, presenting collections by empires or nations, distinguishing art from broader material culture, offering ideas of progression, or claiming novelty. Levitt’s terrific new book shows how this process works with systematic comparisons and a thoughtful analysis. Vital for understanding cosmopolitan culture and more local contexts today.”
—Craig Calhoun, Director, London School of Economics and Political Science

“A book of travel stories, a snapshot of emergent cosmopolitan art worlds, and one of the best illustrations of how a theoretically rich, multi-sited global ethnography is possible—without a trace of the jargon and pontification found in so much global social theory.”
—Adrian Favell, Professor of Sociology, Sciences Po, Paris

“Unearths a story of quiet, nearly invisible, heroism as curators mount exhibitions to encourage us to appreciate cosmopolitan values and engage with cultural difference. This is a beautifully researched and crafted book written by one of the most imaginative sociologists I know.”
Robin Cohen, Emeritus Professor and Former Director of the International Migration Institute, University of Oxford

“Exhibiting the same storytelling ease that new age museums do, Levitt shows how the turnstile of the self-perceived interior and exterior of the nation, or the cosmopolitan-nationalism continuum, is located at the very heart of museums.”
—Kwok Kian Chow, National Gallery Singapore

“Peggy Levitt has written a fascinating story about the various strategies and trajectories museums are taking locally in their struggle for cultural relevance in the twenty-first century. Readers are taken along on her journeys to institutions in three regions of the world and are immersed in reflections about diversity, migration, cosmopolitanism, and nationalism, about global gazes and situated ways of acting. This volume links museum studies and anthropological studies of global diversity, connecting the local to scalar connections with regional, national, and global processes.”
—Thomas Fillitz, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna