CFP: cultural heritage and international development

For the inaugural conference of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies 'The Re/theorisation of Heritage Studies' in Gothenburg, Sweden, June 5-8 2012.

We seek contributions to the following session:

Please submit a short abstract of around 250 words, or at least declare your intention to do so, by Monday 3oth January.

Cultural Heritage and International Development: new intersections and practical possibilities

In recent decades, culture, cultural heritage and cultural rights have become more integral elements of development thinking. In response to anthropological critiques of development practice since the 1980s, new trends have emerged in international development that may be of wider significance to the field of cultural heritage studies. These trends have resulted in the rise to ‘development orthodoxy’ of transcultural concepts as local knowledge, participation and wellbeing. In cultural heritage studies, a movement away from European conceptions of heritage is clearly discernible. What impact does this de-Europeanisation of heritage have on institutions that have hitherto been guided by Euro-centric knowledge? Once considered in bounded and monumental terms, as a concept cultural heritage now offers much more. It may be both a space of ‘negotiation’ and an acknowledgement that intangible heritage, indigenous rights and contested ownership might define processes of recognition and self-definition.

This session aims to explore the interactions and between cultural heritage studies and international development and consider shared perspectives as well as issues of divergence. Potential areas of discussion include the relationship between local knowledge and intangible heritage; attempts to overcome power inequalities, for example in relation to ‘participation’ and ‘authorised heritage discourse’; the interactions between global policy, policymakers and approaches to local practical implementation; universalist vs. relativist conceptions of cultural and/or human rights; and the ethics of ‘outsider’ intervention. Contributions are welcomed from all: from students and researchers to project workers and agency staff.

Session organisers:

Mark Oldham (

Dan Rycroft

University of East Anglia, UK


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