P312
Making heritage, making knowledge

Convenors:
Kristin Kuutma (University of Tartu)
Valdimar Tr. Hafstein (University of Iceland)
Location:
Block 1, Piso 0, Aud. 1
Session slots:
4

Short abstract:

Understanding cultural heritage requires critical investigation into how knowledge of heritage is made and disseminated, and how it generates categorical distinctions, exclusions and inclusions. This panel has been convened to explore the various interfaces of heritage making and knowledge production.

Long abstract:

A formation of recent vintage, seized upon by a vast array of actors under a variety of circumstances in hundreds of thousands of scattered places, the success of cultural heritage in recent years and decades has been phenomenal. Mobilizing people and resources, reforming discourses and transforming practices, cultural heritage changes the world. The recent re-theorization of heritage as a social construction and cultural practice combines places and people, objects and expressions while drawing attention to the process of heritage-making. On the ground, cultural heritage is a strong and flexible language for staking claims to culture and claims based on culture. As an asset for acquiring socio-political capital, as a channel for economic resources, and as a frequent bone of contention, cultural heritage plays an important role in the global politics of culture. The construction and identification of cultural heritage is always an act of politics and power; it depends on who defines cultural heritage and who has the control to conceptualize its stewardship. Cultural heritage plays on the categories of time and space, on continuity and locality in contrast with their opposites. A value-laden project of ideology, it makes claims for ownership, purity, and restitution. At the same time, analysing how cultural heritage is identified and instrumentalised requires critical investigation into how knowledge of heritage is made and disseminated, and how it generates categorical distinctions, exclusions and inclusions. This panel has been convened to explore the various interfaces of heritage making and knowledge production.