Anthropology of Cultural Heritage
Institution Where Taught
University of Maryland, College Park
Web Address (URL)
Why is the past still so important today? In this course we will explore globally how the past is remade in the present, and the present remade in the past. We will examine western relationships to the past as intimately tied to property and the drive to plunder, collect, and catalogue. Still, connections to the past are not exclusively material, as heritage also includes the ‘intangibles’ of language, folklore, music, dance, festivals, and knowledge. Similarly, heritage infuses landscapes, from canyons to mountain peaks, cityscapes to pastures. In part this broadened definition of heritage honors the great diversity of present-day relations to the past. However, this diversity strains at the seams of heritage models organized around lists, definitions, conventions and international organizations, especially when coupled with the weight of historical inequality and injustice borne on certain communities. Heritage across the globe spans a much greater and more complicated mix of rights, identities, memories, ethics, redemptions, politics, and economies. Embedded in everyday life, heritage complicates what is past, over and done with, versus what continues to live on.
Keywords & Terms
- Adequate and Responsible Reporting, Publication, and Dissemination
- Culturally Significant and/or Sacred Sites, Objects, and Places
- Impact on Communities - Local, Descendant, etc.
- Indigenous, Tribal, Aboriginal Rights
- International Law
- Looting, Collecting, and Illicit Trade of Cultural Property
- Management of Cultural Resources, Heritage, History
- Respect for and Responsibility to Affected Groups