Heritage Across Borders
Organised by the Zhejiang University of Hangzhou China
The global rise of heritage studies and the heritage industry in recent decades has been a story of crossing frontiers and transcending boundaries. The 2018 Association of Critical Heritage Studies conference, held in Hangzhou, China, thus takes 'borders' as a broadly defined, yet key, concept for better understanding how heritage is valued, preserved, politicised, mobilised, financed, planned and destroyed. Thinking through borders raises questions about theories of heritage, its methodologies of research, and where its boundaries lie with tourism, urban development, post-disaster recovery, collective identities, climate change, memory or violent conflict. Held in the city of Hangzhou, China, Heritage Across Borders will be the largest ever international conference in Asia dedicated to the topic of heritage. It has been conceived to connect international participants with local issues, and in so doing open up debates about the rural-urban, east-west, tangible-intangible and other familiar divides.
Borders tell us much about the complex role heritage plays in societies around the world today. Historically speaking, physical and political borders have led to ideas about enclosed cultures, and a language of cultural property and ownership which marches forward today in tension alongside ideals of universalism and the cosmopolitan. More people are moving across borders than ever before, with vastly different motivations and capacities. What role can heritage studies play in understanding the experiences of migrants or the plight of refugees? And what heritage futures do we need to anticipate as the pressures of international tourism seem to relentlessly grow year by year?
Heritage Across Borders will consider how the values of heritage and approaches to conservation change as objects, experts, and institutions move across frontiers. It will ask how new international cultural policies alter creation, performance, and transmission for artists, craftspersons, musicians, and tradition-bearers.
What are the frontiers of cultural memory in times of rapid transformation? How can museums engage with increasingly diverse audiences by blurring the distinctions between the affective and representational? And do digital reproductions cross important ethical boundaries?
One of the key contributions of critical heritage studies has been to draw attention to the role of heritage in constructing and operationalising boundaries and borders of many kinds-national, social, cultural, ethnic, economic and political. In what ways do international flows of capital rework indigenous and urban cultures, and reshape nature in ways that redefine existing boundaries?
We especially welcome sessions and papers that challenge disciplinary boundaries and professional divides, and explore cross-border dialogues. What lessons can be learned from Asia where the distinctions between the tangible and intangible are less well marked? And how can researchers bridge cultural and linguistic barriers to better understand these nuances?
For more information regarding sub-themes, regular sessions, panel discussions, schedules, and logistics visit: