Perspectives on Critical Heritage: Constructing and performing Authenticity in Touristic and Material Displays
Gordon House 106
On Tuesday 16th June 2009 from 10.00 to 17.30
The Centre of Museums, Heritage and Material Culture at UCL proposes a one-day workshop on the theme of the construction and performance of authenticity in the arenas of the everyday, cultural institutions and tourism industries; framed within critical paradigms on heritage. Heritage, here is not only apprehended as objects or cultural sites but overall as a practice encompassing the dimensions of performative tourism and material display in dynamic contemporary settings. The workshop will be held on the 16th of June 2009 at Gordon House, in room 106.
The workshop aims to provide a ground for reflecting upon the construction of authenticity as locally defined, performed and materialised through tangible and intangible heritage, in various parts of the world. This will be explored by ways of describing and analysing the mechanisms that underline local 'authentification' processes and therefore the particular actions mastered in the creation and consolidation of authenticity seen as both a form of value and of identity. In other words, we propose that by revisiting the notion of authenticity through the lens of performative tourism, museums and generally material culture, critically aware and diverse definitions of authenticity and heritage will emerge.
Rather than being considered as a 'phenomena', heritage involving the dimensions of tourism and museums is seen as an analytical framework that is an active and interactive ground from which networks of socio-cultural, material and symbolic or semiotic interactions (Law & Hassard 1999, Latour 2005) are weaved and systematically performed by local and non local actors. Under this perspective, the dimension of the 'society spectacle' (Debord 1983) or exhibitionary cultures and complexes (Bennett 1995) in the context of performative tourism and material display will constitute the locus for discussions on the construction of authenticity and material identities.
The workshop is organized into 2 sessions dealing with the themes of 'things and people on display' and 7 papers grounded in empirical materials that describe the particular relationships or interplay between people and things in exhibiting, performing or creating an authentic self or culture. The following two aspects will be considered: a) people's 'mise-en-scene' of the 'self' and of 'the body', b) the production and mediation of visual and material/immaterial culture with a focus on objects becoming subjects that is as cultural agents.
Co-organized by Shaila Bhatti (UCL Anthropology), Laurence Douny (UCL Archaeology). If you wish to attend please e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact Shaila Bhatti if you want to attend.
Gordon House is located on the north-west corner of Gordon Square, next to the Institute of Archaeology:
The conference is free. The participants will make their own arrangement for lunch.
The workshop is sponsored by the Journal of Material Culture and the Department of Anthropology at UCL
University College London - Department of Anthropology
Journal of Material Culture
Centre for Museums, Heritage and Material Culture
Maps and Directions
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I. MORNING SESSION: 'Things' on display
Themes: Material Culture/Museums & Landscape: the socio-cultural construction of identities through the landscape and local/national museologies, collections and curatorial practice.
Chair: Graeme Were (UCL Museums & Collections)
9.30 - 10.00 Coffee
10.00 - 10.10: Presentation of UCL Collections and Material Culture Studies by Graeme Were
10.10 - 10.20: Introduction of the session by Laurence Douny (UCL Archaeology)
10.20 - 10.50: "Brokering Culture - Authenticating Pakistan's national history and culture at the Lahore Museum" by Shaila Bhatti (UCL Anthropology)
10.50 - 11.20: "Africa on Display: Curating Postcolonial Pasts in the Cameroon Grassfields" by Mike Rowlands (UCL Anthropology)
11.20 - 11.40 Coffee break
11.40 - 12.10: "Changing Art Traditions on Exhibit" by Nelson Graburn (University of California, Berkeley)
12.10 - 12.40: "Houses as museums of the self: domestic landscape and cultural identity in Southern Brazil" by Clarissa Sanfelice Rahmeier (UCL Anthropology)
12.40 - 13.30 Lunch
II. AFTERNOON SESSION: 'People on display'
Themes: Masquerades & festivals, Intangibility & people performing heritage, performing "otherness", Body aesthetics, Material identities, geneaologies and diasporas, 'Domestic aesthetics' and everyday life on display.
Chair: Beverley Butler (UCL Archaeology)
13.30 - 13.40: Presentation of the "Centre of Museums, Heritage and Material Culture at University College London" by Beverley Butler
13.40 - 14.50: Introduction of the session by Shaila Bhatti (UCL)
14.50 - 15.20: 'Materialising genealogical identities: making tangible intangible family histories in the Scottish diaspora' by Paul Basu (UCL Archaeology)
15.20 - 15.50: Processes and Politics of Performing "the Other" in the Heritage Industry by Alexis Bunten (Humboldt State University).
15.50 - 16.20 Coffee break
16.20 - 16.50: Performing Heritage and Rethinking Authenticity at the Vanuatu Cultural Centre by Marilena Alivizatou (UCL Archaeology)
16.50 - 17.20: "Conclusion & general discussion: Perspectives on Critical Heritage"
17.20 - 17.30: Concluding word: Shaila Bhatti and Laurence Douny