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SIEF2013 11th Congress: Tartu, Estonia.
30 June - 4 July, 2013

SIEF2013: Circulation

Tartu, Estonia; 30th June - 4th July


Critical heritage studies and the circuits of power: inclusion and exclusion in the making of heritage

Location Jakobi 2, 306
Date and Start Time 03 July, 2013 at 10:30


Aet Annist (University of Tartu) email
Riina Raudne (Health Estonia Foundation) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

To follow the quest for critical heritage studies to include marginalised strains and participants in cultural heritage, we scrutinise circularity of power in heritage processes by studying how various actors gain and lose access to defining, benefiting from and/or channeling heritage.

Long Abstract

Our panel follows the quest for critical heritage studies to open up the traditional approach to heritage by including the marginalised strains and participants or bystanders in cultural heritage processes to offer a fuller understanding of the phenomenon.Therefore this panel seeks to contribute to the discussions about processes of power in the making of heritage. In line with the general conference theme, we would like to particularly scrutinise the role of circulation of power in heritage.

From daily realities to the marketable brand that then transforms the daily lives through consumption, heritage is the powerful undercurrent of the changing forms of many mundane phenomena in modern lives.It can move people, regions and landscapes from positions of marginality to centrality.Yet, it continues generating new forms of marginality, reinforcing and contributing to class relations.Heritage lends power to the objects of heritage, which may reconfigure existing heritage institutions.

We welcome empirically grounded contributions addressing the circulation of power, focusing on all participants in heritage processes.From bystanders to experts, artefacts and landscapes to performers and re-enactors, this panel seeks to scrutinise how various actors gain and lose access to defining, benefiting from and/or channeling heritage. What strategic interests do actors pursue in heritage management? How are some groups and interests consolidated, and others marginalised in the process? What role do the physical properties of heritage objects (landscapes, buildings, artifacts) play in defining heritage? How is heritage used in marketing, consumption, political processes to shape and reshape groups' self-visions?

Discussant: Prof Kristin Kuutma (University of Tartu), Dr Franz Krause (Tallinn University)

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Mutual engagement and theorization of practice in American public folklore

Author: Robert Baron (Goucher College)  email

Short Abstract

As scholars and practitioners, public folklorists engage with issues and methods of intervention, mediation, safeguarding strategies and cultural brokerage. Their approaches are suggestive for articulating and integrating critical heritage theory with heritage policies and practices.

Long Abstract

Public folklorists in the United States have developed methods to enable communities to safeguard and represent their traditions on their own terms. Their dialogical practices foster mutual engagement with communities and facilitate access to resources. Critically reflexive about the impact of their interventions upon ongoing cultural processes, they are aware that they contribute to constructing and reframing heritage while also assisting communities to sustain valued traditions.

Issues of intervention, mediation, objectification and cultural brokerage are central to public folklore discourse. In the U.S., public folklorists may be policy makers, practitioners and scholars. While critical heritage theory tends to dichotomize theory as the domain of scholars, counterposed against policy as the domain of distanced public officials and practice as the realm of producing and programming practitioners, America public folklore suggests models for the integration of theory and practice and closer articulation between the academy and public practice. Unfortunately, critical heritage theory has overlooked the theorization of public folklore practice, and American public folklore has not engaged with global intangible cultural heritage discourse.

I will draw from scholarship generated in both the academy and among practitioners, illustrated through exemplary programs. While recognizing the achievements of the programs I will describe, I will also acknowledge the persistence of power asymmetries and academic privilege. Examples will be drawn from observation, publications, and my own experience as director of a state folk arts program, as a public folklore scholar and as a producer of programming.

Cultural heritage and the EU Culture Programme: an opportunity for marginalised actors to make their voice heard?

Author: Elisabeth Keller (LMU Munich)  email

Short Abstract

The European Union brings divers European actors together by co-financing cultural cooperation projects. Which actors have access to and stay on this platform provided by the EU Culture Programme? What do they add to the understanding of cultural heritage at a European and international level?

Long Abstract

The Lisbon Treaty revers to cultural heritage in its Article 3.3.: "The Union shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe's cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced". Therefore the European Union can only support and supplement actions of its Member States. One of the major supporting strategies is the EU Culture Programme. From the 103 cooperation projects which have received funding for the period between May 2011 and April 2013, thirteen describe themselves as pertaining to cultural heritage.

In my paper I propose to retrace these specific projects. Who are the actors that benefit from the EU's co-financing? Which geographical and institutional background do they have? Are there hierarchical differences?

In a second step I will analyse what definition and description of cultural heritage can be deducted from these projects. Is cultural heritage used to re-construct a collective or to critically point at superposed discourses?

And finally I will look into the project "Childhood. Remains and Heritage" which is running till April 2013. The partners in this project, the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant in Bucharest, the Museum of Lebork and "Artees" in Paris investigate European childhood. They aim at creating an itinerant exhibition as well as a common working platform for exchange between cultural professionals and artists. What motivation was behind their decision to apply for the EU Cultural Programme? And in the end who decides which artefacts are collected and shown in which cities and in which manner?

The rise and fall of Estonian community houses

Author: Egge Kulbok-Lattik (University of Jyväskylä)  email

Short Abstract

My presentation will analyse the processes of inclusion and exclusion in Estonian cultural politics by considering the fate of the network of Estonian Community Houses.

Long Abstract

Estonian Community Houses played a vital part in Estonian national awakening in the 19th-early 20th century, as well as in the inclusion of rural population in the cultural and national developments of the country between 1920-1940. However, today, the network of Community Houses is almost unrecognised by the state institutions. Their exclusion from the list of cultural heritage has real consequences - increasingly, the Community Houses, which used to be the hubs of local life, are handed over to local NGOs which have in many cases privatises the house, therefore dispossessing the local community of its communal centre. On the one hand, I will depict the history of decline of these centres which were turned into political education centres with the coming of Soviet era, and have often declined further even after 1991. On the other hand, I will be analysing the current processes within the context of Estonian cultural politics which operates through including and excluding various phenomena on the cultural landscape based on certain assumptions and preferences.

Making modern rurality: the "animalscape" of Estonian tourism farms

Author: Maarja Kaaristo (Manchester Metropolitan University)  email

Short Abstract

Drawing on my fieldwork conducted in tourism farms in South-East Estonia, I will look into the question of power and exclusion of the animals in tourism business, and how the phenomenon of rural tourism can be used to analyze the construction and representations of modern heritage of rurality.

Long Abstract

Rural tourism can be viewed as phenomena resulting partly from the wish to escape the urban environment and the need to reaffirm local identity and cultural (and natural) heritage in the face of growing globalization, both from the viewpoints of the hosts and the guests. The post-socialist situation has forced many farmers to reconsider their initial (often nostalgic) ideas about small production farms and one of the alternatives has been to establish a farm for the tourists.

In the tourism farms, an environment is (re)created where rural nostalgia can be indulged through friendly family hosting their guests at their home. An important part of this construction of the farm environment are farm animals and pets, and this "animal-scape" is being actively re-designed and re-negotiated by the farmers as they have been forced to give up the attempts to live on small-scale farming due to the current agricultural politics. The tourism farmers are active agents in (re)interpreting the meanings of 'rurality' and 'heritage' and therefore produce new meanings and connotations, exluding some aspects of their "animal-scape" (like traditional animal husbandry) and including others (new species such as ostriches or reindeer). In this way, tradition and heritage can be seen as something that is not so much about the return to our "roots" but coming to terms with our "routes", to paraphrase Stuart Hall.

Celtic ground fog: ethnography of a not so cosmopolitan market to Celtophilia in the Spanish-Portuguese border

Author: António Medeiros (ISCTE University Institute of Lisbon, CEI-IUL)  email

Short Abstract

In this paper I want to ilustrate resiliences of the national borders in NW Iberia,refering the market expressions of celtophilia in Portugal and Galicia (NW Spain).

Long Abstract

The market phenomena that Celtophilia induces in Portugal and Galicia, in spite of its cosmopolitan matrix, reveal themselves to be surprisingly dependent on limits imposed by the government formulas used in each of the Iberian states and on the specific histories of the construction of cultures that occurred in the two countries. These political-administrative and ideological boundaries significantly condition the rethoric of appropriation of the past that the Portuguese and the Galicians can exercise with great prospects today. Following U. Hannerz's suggestions (1992), it could be said "cultural flows" in contemporary Europe are conditioned in several ways, some of them quite resilient indeed in spite of the ongoing process of "Europeanization" .

Manipulating the memory of trauma between oral history and autofiction: a case study on Herta Muller's depictions of late communism in Romania

Author: Adrian Stoicescu (University of Bucharest)  email

Short Abstract

Is it possible to read autofiction as oral history? Is it possible to use autofictions as a strong foothold in what's called collective memory?

Long Abstract

Retelling past personal historical events has long been among the preoccupation of both writers and ordinary people, less skilled in the arts of words. Trauma, in different forms, represented/represents maybe one of the most frequent theme of such recollections and when reading or hearing about it one becomes involved in a rather challenging process of digging up for the truth of a kind of memory very often mystified, manipulated, negotiated, adapted or, simply, recalled as it may have happened.

Retracing the steps made by W. Iser or N. Rapport and following the classicized research methods of oral history, this paper will try to look at Herta Müller's autofiction and determine whether such prose weighs the equal value of disclosing some truth about the lived reality partaking so to the collective heritage of memories about the life shaping occurrences. Such undertaking is justifiable on the grounds of the writer's double status as an exile and as an author about it and, more importantly, since the author herself expressly utters that she tells the story of all those forced to live under the ordeals of the regime.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.