Conference Alert: The Heritage Theater (Rotterdam, 13-15 May 09)

The Heritage Theater.
The dynamics of cultural heritage in a globalizing world
Rotterdam Conference on Globalization and Cultural Heritage
May 13-15 2009

The Department of Cultural Studies, Faculty of History and Arts, Erasmus University Rotterdam, is the location of two research programmes, 'Globalization and Cultural Heritage' and 'Community Museums Past &
Present', funded by NWO (Dutch Science Foundation, part of the programmes 'Transformation of Art and Culture' and 'Cultural Dynamics') and the Dutch VSB Foundation. See for more information:

To conclude the first and to launch the second project, the Department is organizing an international conference on the effects and causes of globalization and cultural heritage, 'The Heritage Theater. The dynamics of cultural heritage in a globalizing world'.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, organizations for the preservation of heritage were founded as part of European national cultural policy, in countries colonized by the West, and in independent
states outside Europe. In this sense, heritage institutions are early examples of cultural export on a global scale. The export of heritage concepts, heritage formats, and heritage knowledge from the West to other countries and vice versa is still going on, not only in traditional, well-tried ways, but also in other formats, like theme
parks, games and internet sites. Similarly, in non-Western countries various other ways of protecting and
presenting cultural heritage have developed over the last few decades. Institutions such as cultural centers and community centers displaying cultural heritage have no counterparts in Western countries. In the last decades, heritage institutions work together on a global scale. The perception of a shared past created new forms of cooperation between institutions in different nations and the legitimacy of traditional local museums was challenged by the migration of new, sometimes transnational oriented communities.

The current interest in cultural heritage is also the result of the growing demand on the part of international tourism for places with a cultural heritage that can be experienced as part of leisure activities. All over the world, countries are beginning to realize the economic benefits of tourism, and searching for possibilities to expand tourism. Today, the interest in cultural heritage is global and diverse. Indeed, it is no longer correct to speak of a single audience, since cultural heritage visitors have different backgrounds and different expectations. The growing exchange of information between individual heritage institutions, and between those institutions and the public, is part of a global process that makes use of interconnected information networks.

Location: Wereldmuseum Rotterdam
Contact: Marlite Halbertsma,

Chairs: Marlite Halbertsma (EUR), Alex van Stipriaan Luïscius (EUR and Royal Tropical Institute), Christine Chivallon (Institut d'Études Politiques de Bordeaux) and Wiendu Nuryanti, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta)


Wednesday, May 13

18.00 Wellcome Dinner

Thursday, May 14

10.00 Opening of the Conference by Dick Douwes, Dean of the Faculty of History and Arts

10.15 Key Note Speech by Mike Robinson, Chair of Tourism and Culture, Leeds Metropolitan University and Director of the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change: 'Meaning in chaos, experiencing cultural heritage and the challenge of the popular'

11.15 Coffee break

11.30 Yatun Sastramidjaja, Erasmus University of Rotterdam: 'Virtual identities and the recapturing of place: heritage play in civil society's re-appropriation of the past'

12.30 Lunch break

13.30 Uta C. Protz, European University, 'Between heritage and theatre: The rise of the museum in the Arab Gulf'

14.00 Sybille Frank, Technische Universität Darmstadt: 'When global flows meet local cultures: tourists (re)fashioning Cold War heritage at Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin'

14.30 Cheryl Finley, Cornell University: 'Performing the past: slavery, tourism and commemoration'

15. 00 Tea break

15.30 Christoph Rausch, University Maastricht: 'Trophy Houses. The heritage of the 'Maisons Tropicales'

16.00 Karel Arnaut, Ghent University, and Bambi Ceuppens, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Brussels: 'After heritage: can the subaltern remember? Notes from Belgium's Africa'

16.30: Panel

17.00 Drinks, dinner

Friday, May 15

10.00 Valika Smeulders, Erasmus University Rotterdam: 'Channeling emotions about the slavery past and the audiences they speak to'

11.00 Coffee break

11.15 Anja B. Nelle, Fundaçao de Desenvolvimento Habitacional de Fortaleza: 'Urban intervention and the globalization of signs: marketing World Heritage Towns'

11.45 Ferdinand de Jong, University of East Anglia: 'Memory and materiality: The Jola Museum and its Fetishes'

12.15 Lunch break

13.00 Gwenny van Hasselt, Erasmus University Rotterdam: 'The Dutch National Historical Museum'

13.30 Patricia van Ulzen, Open University Heerlen: 'International airports as showcases for national cultural heritage. The case of Schiphol Airport'

14.00 Dorus Hoebink, Erasmus University Rotterdam: 'Community museums and virtual communities'

14.30 Tea break

15.00 Hélène Verreyke, Erasmus University Rotterdam 'Migration museums and global communities'

15.30 Heng Wu, University of Bergen, 'The interpretation of ethnicity as a type of cultural heritage in Chinese context in a globalizing world'

16.00 Sadiah Boonstra, Free University Amsterdam: 'Performing identity, shaping heritage. Wayang puppet theatre and the dynamics of heritage formation in contemporary Indonesia'

16.30 Panel. End of the conference

17.00 Drinks, fare-well dinner


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