Mittwoch, 13. Mai 2015, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

Wednesday Seminar - Michael Rowlands

The New Museology in China

Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie
Universitätsstraße 7, NIG 4. Stock, HS C, 1010 Wien


Heritage and museum building, as both discourse and practice, is a very recent European import into China, but it already has a pervasive and powerful presence across official and public domains, transforming the social, economic and cultural life of localities and re-shaping domestic and global notions of China’s national identity. Heritage construction is a core feature of local development strategies implemented by provincial and county authorities, especially in the historically poor and ethnically diverse regions of the southwest. Heritage tourism is also promoted in diverse forms, from the ‘red’ sites commemorating China’s twentieth century revolution to the exotic ‘ocean of song and dance’ in Kaili, Guizhou’s main city of Miao culture. However, between government policies and practices of heritage and local communities whose claims to their own cultural past are being appropriated by political, developmental and commercial interests, heritage is a problematic term and practice, involving competition, conflict and new hierarchies of power in local communities. Articulated by international and national political agendas and imposed on them by local development strategies and market competition, heritage is something that local communities find themselves obliged to engage with, But how? With what implications for local communities’ perceptions of their own cultural pasts and values, and for what they want to transmit to future generations? What new conceptions and practices of heritage are emerging to contest the top-down imposition of heritage models that deny the possibility of locally-embedded cultural renewal?

Michael Rowlands is an emeritus professor of anthropology and material culture at the University College London. His research interests include the theorisation and conceptualisation of cultural heritage and material culture.

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Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie


Mag. Marie-Therese Hartwig
Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie