20 March 2010

Article: Negative Heritage: The Place of Conflict in World Heritage (2008)

Title: Negative Heritage: The Place of Conflict in World Heritage
Author: Trinidad Rico
Journal: Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Year: 2008
Volume: 10
Number: 4
Pages: 34-352
DOI: 10.1179/135050308X12513845914507
Download: http://ice.ingenta-ddconv.nsatc.net/... (pdf, 70 Kb)

The degree to which the World Heritage List reflects the diversity of heritage types has been a matter of recent discussions. The World Heritage Committee itself has identified geographical and typological imbalances for over a decade, but their Global Strategy, and recent critiques of its implementation, fails to address a different type of gap: the relative lack of heritage sites with negative associations. Negative heritage is defined as sites that may be interpreted by a group as commemorating conflict, trauma and disaster. In the spirit of promoting a diversity of relationships to the past, the List may fail to reflect the contested nature of heritage, which raises questions of its educational value as an archive, and the World Heritage Convention's support of alternative memories and multiple interpretations of the past. This paper aims to further discussions regarding the homogenization of the concept of heritage and of the relevance of the List for local identities and agendas, addressing the mechanisms of conceptual and geographic boundary-making in the process of site nomination and inscription. This discussion is relevant to current post-colonial critiques of heritage management that challenge the universality of the definition of heritage, and of the 1972 Convention today.

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