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Heritage Protection in a Global Context: Institutional Practices and Policies


Admission requirements

Description & Goals

This course explores the discourses and institutional practices surrounding heritage from an anthropological perspective, drawing on case studies from various parts of the world. In the past few decades, museums have been proliferating all over the world, many of them set up by and for previously disenfranchised groups, and often concerned with issues of culture, representation, and meaning. During the same time period, UNESCO has spearheaded globalized efforts to safeguard heritage, through projects like the World Heritage List and a series of conventions. In this course, we will ask how “heritage” gets constructed in specific instances through the various discourses (institutional, legal, national, international) around the concept as well as policies aimed at its preservation. Through reading and discussion, we will examine some of the key issues with which both anthropologists and heritage professionals are struggling, including: representation; strategies for “decolonizing” or “reclaiming” museums and heritage; repatriation and illicit trade; globalization, and tourism.

Timetable Check the timetable on the departmental website. Or the website Anthropology

Mode of instruction

Total 5 ECTS = 140 study hours
lectures 8 × 3 h / 24 hours
2 workshops 9 hours
study of literature



Active participation at all class meetings is required, including leading discussion for one class period (as part of a small group of students); short written responses to the readings are due prior to each class meeting; on the last day of class, you will present a poster on a heritage-related topic of your choice, on which you will carry out additional independent research.

Weekly assignments
Final paper
Active participation in class



Reading List

Required text: Christina Kreps, Liberating Culture: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Museums, Curation, and Heritage Preservation (Routledge 2003); additional texts will be made available through blackboard


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