Anthropology of Cultural Heritage

Bibliographic Information

Course Title

Anthropology of Cultural Heritage

Institution Where Taught

University of Maryland, College Park

Web Address (URL)

Additional Information

Course Number

ANTH 469T/464

Course Level

Course Description

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.

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