Dr. Marzia Varutti

M.S. Curie Fellow

Directory details

Institution : University of Geneva
Department : CISA - Swiss Center for Affective Sciences
Discipline : Museology
Research field : Emotions in museums
Supervisor : David Sander


I am a museologist and cultural historian, currently holding an EU Marie Sklodowska Curie research fellowship at the Center for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva. I have held academic positions and taught museology in several institutions, including the University of Oslo, Norway (as Associate Professor in Museology and Cultural History); the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK; the Graduate School of Museum Studies, Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan.

I have been a visiting researcher among others at the College of Indigenous Studies, Donghwa University, Taiwan; the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver; and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology of the University of Cambridge, UK.

In my research and publications, I have investigated a range of topics in museum studies, cultural heritage and cultural history, including relationships between museums and Indigenous Peoples (specifically in Taiwan) and various aspects of the politics of cultural representation in museums.
My recent and ongoing research explores the role of affect and emotions in the ecological crisis - including in museums and in the context of ecopoetry.


Research interests:

  • affect and emotions in museums

  • affect and ecology

  • ecopoetry

  • critical museum and heritage studies

  • museum anthropology and collaborative museology

  • cross-cultural perspectives on heritage and museums

Regional expertise: Taiwan; Norway; limited field research in British Columbia (Canada) and Belize.



  • PhD and Master in Museology and Cultural Heritage, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo.
    • Examples of courses: Critical Museum Studies: history and theory; Research Methods in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies; Master thesis writing seminars.
  • BA in Cultural History, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo.
    • Example of course: Museums: a Cultural History.





  • 2015. ‘Rethinking Sámi Museums’, special issue, Journal of Nordic Museology. Co-editor with Eva Silvén, Silje Opdahl Mathisen and Rossella Ragazzi.
  • 2014. Museums in China. The politics of representation after Mao. Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 9781843838883. 203 s.

Selected refereed journal articles and book chapters

  • Varutti, Marzia forthcoming (co-authored with Geoffrey Gowlland) ‘Museums as sites of Indigenous Revitalisation’ in The Museum in Asia, Cai Yunci (ed), Leicester Readers in Museum Studies, London: Routledge.
  • Varutti, Marzia 2021 'Affective encounters in museums', in Þóra Pétursdóttir and Torgei Rinke Bangstad (eds) Heritage Ecologies, London: Routledge.
  • Varutti, Marzia 2020 ‘Vers une muséologie des émotions’, Cultures et Musées, 36:171-177. Online:
  • Varutti, Marzia 2019 ‘Gradients of alterity: museums and the negotiation of cultural difference in contemporary Norway’ in Watson, Sheila, Amy Barnes, and Katy Bunning (eds). A Museum Studies Approach to Heritage. Leicester Readers in Museum Studies. London: Routledge. P.527-542.
  • Varutti, Marzia 2018 "‘Authentic reproductions’: museum collection practices as authentication", Museum Management and Curatorship 33(1): 42-56.
  • Varutti, Marzia 2017 ‘Materializing the past: mannequins, history and memory in museums. Insights from the Northern European and East-Asian contexts’, in A.S. Hjemdahl and S. Opdahl Mathisen (eds) Bodyworks, Journal of Nordic Museology, special issue, vol 1, pp.5-20.
  • Varutti, Marzia 2016 ‘A kaleidoscopic vision: exhibiting and imagining the Viking Past in Fra Istid Til Kvitekrist’, Primitive Tider spesialutgave, p.27-38.
  • Varutti, Marzia (2015). Crafting Heritage: Artisans and the Making of Indigenous Heritage in Contemporary Taiwan. International Journal of Heritage Studies (IJHS). ISSN 1352-7258. 21(10):1036-1049.
  • Varutti, Marzia (2014). Polysemic objects and partial translations: Museums and the Interpretation of Indigenous Material Culture in Taiwan. Museum Anthropology. ISSN 0892-8339. 37(2), s 102- 117
  • Varutti, Marzia (2013). Controversial indigeneity: museums representing non-officially recognized indigenous groups in Taiwan. Nordisk Museologi. ISSN 1103-8152. (2), s 17- 32
  • Varutti, Marzia (2013). Learning to share knowledge. Collaborative projects between national and indigenous museums in Taiwan, In Viv Golding & Wayne Modest (ed.), Museums and Communities: Curators, Collections and Collaboration. Berg Publishers. ISBN 9780857851314. chapter 3.
  • Varutti, Marzia (2012). Towards social inclusion in Taiwan: museums, equality and indigenous groups, In Richard Sandell & Eithne Nightingale (ed.), Museums, Equality and Social Justice. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-50468-3. chapter 17.
  • Varutti, Marzia (2011). Miniatures of the nation: ethnic minority figurines, mannequins and dioramas in Chinese museums. Museum & Society. ISSN 1479-8360. 9(1), s 1- 16
  • Varutti, Marzia (2011). Standardizing difference: the materiality of ethnic minorities in the museums of the Peoples' Republic of China, In Sandra Dudley; Amy Jane Barnes; Jennifer Binnie; Julia Petrov & Jennifer Walklate (ed.), The Thing About Museums. Objects and Experience, Representation and Contestation.. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-67904-6. chapter 21.