Making, sustaining, breaking – the politics of heritage and culture

"Asia and Europe in a Global Context" 8th Annual Conference in Heidelberg

The 8th annual conference of the Cluster will address some of the urgent questions that surround heritage as a political and cultural issue at a historical juncture when the idea of culture is being drawn into a field of intense contestation.

One component of the conference will explore the nexus between objects canonized as heritage, transcultural conceptual formations, the institutions entrusted with its care, and the disciplines which produce and order knowledge about the uses and meanings of heritage. Under what circumstances do certain forms of remembering effect the elimination of other memories? What are the languages brought forth by multiple, competing versions of the past that signify the politicization of culture? Do transculturally shaped identities and social formations in flux generate a yearning for (imagined) stability through a search for “origins” or the recuperation of “purity”?

A second group of presentations will focus on “saving” and “reproducing”. Is conservation also a form of redefinition or an act of transformation that reconfigures an object? How do specific concepts of value and authenticity shape decisions and measures to preserve and to archive? When contemporary cultures of the spectacle enabled by the power of digital and other technologies of simulation create “hyperreal” (Baudrillard) heritage sites to replace the real ones, does the copy democratize the original, possibly by making it redundant?

And finally a third element of the triad is the destruction of heritage – of historical sites, artefacts and archives – in the name of revolution or historical justice, religious fundamentalism, ethnic cleansing, alternatively in conjunction with illicit trade, plunder or natural disaster. What is the place of iconoclasm in collective imaginations?
The conference will include two keynote addresses, given by the renowned historian of images and iconoclasm, David Freedberg (London) and the Iraqi novelist and poet, Sinan Antoon (New York/ Berlin). The programme features 4 plenary  morning sessions on overarching themes and nine afternoon panels on subjects ranging from politics, archives, music to rebuilding after catastrophe. The conference will conclude with a roundtable discussion.

The full programme can be seen here

Organisers and Venues: Research Area D “Historicities and Heritage” in collaboration with Forum Transregionale Studien (Berlin), the Max Weber Stiftung – Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland and Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (Berlin), Alte Aula and Karl Jaspers Centre, Heidelberg

Further information