Heritage, Decolonisation and the Field: conference registration open

26 October 2017

UNESCO HQ, Paris (Image courtesy of William Carruthers)

A conference entitled Heritage, Decolonisation and the Field will be held at the German Historical Institute of London and UCL Institute of Archaeology on 26 & 27 January 2018, for which registration is now open.

Heritage, Decolonisation and the Field

The development of heritage as a distinctive, international field of governance regulated through institutions like UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICCROM and the IUCN is closely linked to practices of decolonisation and fieldwork. Despite increased interest in the histories and practice of cultural and natural heritage, there is little understanding of how their interconnection with decolonisation and the field actually took place.

How did these three things work together to make heritage governance a reality? How did decolonisation shape the form of that governance and the sorts of fieldwork that took place? How, vice versa, did these forms of fieldwork and governance shape decolonisation, and how also did colonial practices play a role? Moreover, how (if at all) do the answers to such questions vary across time and space? If we are to understand the relationship between heritage, decolonisation and the field - and, by extension, the development of heritage governance itself - providing answers to these questions is a necessity, as is considering the methodologies which we might use to make these answers effective.

This Conference, held over two days at the German Historical Institute of London (Day 1) and UCL Institute of Archaeology (Day 2) aims to address these questions from a range of disciplinary perspectives, using international, comparative or global case studies to do so.


Provisional Programme

The provisional rogramme for the conference is given below, however please note this may be subject to change. The event is run over two days and will be held in different venues each day.

DAY 1: Friday 26 January 2018

Venue: German Historical Institute London, 17 Bloomsbury Square, WC1A 2NJ London

Time and Session:

09:30–10:30 Keynote Presentation

  • Daniel J. Sherman, Lineberger Distinguished Professor of Art and History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Colonising the Field: Scientific Networks and the Sites of Archaeology in Early Twentieth-Century Tunisia

11:00–12:30 'Knowledge Practices', Chaired by William Carruthers, GHIL

  • Marie Huber, Humboldt University of Berlin. Conservators on the Rise: The Expert Network Behind the Success of the Ethiopian World Heritage Nominations 1978–1979
  • Bianca Maria Nardella, University College London. Tracing the Articulation of Knowledge Practices of Urban Conservation in Decolonising Tunis: A Methodological Reflection
  • Mark Thurner, Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London. Before UNESCO: Pioneering the Decolonisation of Heritage in Latin America

12:30–13:30 Lunch

13:30–15:00 ‘Museums’, Chaired by Mirjam Brusius, GHIL

  • Sarah K Griswold, New York University. The Levant at the Louvre, 1947: A Heritage of France's First Colonial Loss
  • Tânia Madureira, University Institute of Lisbon. Heritage Management in a Mozambican Museum: From the Colonial Foundation to Postcolonial Reorganisation
  • Claire Wintle, University of Brighton. UK Museum Anthropology and Decolonisation: Changing Structures of Governance and Field, 1945–1980

15:30–17:00 ‘Archives’, Chaired by Andreas Gestrich, GHIL

  • Fabienne Chamelot, University of Portsmouth. Archives, Sovereignty and Decolonisation in French West Africa: When Archival Science Challenges National Politics
  • Katja Müller, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. The Internet as a Field for Decolonising Indian Cultural Heritage
  • Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Bringing Fresh Milk and Green Pastures to Ibadan: Imagining Future Agricultural Landscapes in Former British Colonies

17:15–18:45 ‘Decolonising Practice’, Chaired by Rodney Harrison, UCL/AHRC Heritage Priority Area

  • Rachel Ama Asaa Engmann, Hampshire College. Auto-Archaeology as a Decolonising Archaeological Heritage Practice
  • Jessica Namakkal, Duke University. Renaming and Removing as Decolonisation
  • Dean Sully, University College London. Decolonising Conservation, One Heritage Place at a Time
DAY 2: Saturday 27th January

Venue: UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, WC1H 0PY London

Time and Session:

09:30–10:30 ‘Nation/State/Globe’ Part I, Chaired by Indra Sengupta (GHIL)

  • Nicodemus Fru Awasom, University of Swaziland. Commemorating Cameroon’s Anglophone and Francophone Nationalist Ideology through the Representation and Critique of the Reunification Monuments
  • Walter Rossa and Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo, Universidade de Coimbra. Heritage(s) of Portuguese Influence: History, Processes, and After-Effects

10:45–11:45 ‘Nation/State/Globe’ Part II

  • Amal Sachedina, George Washington University. The Circulation of Heritage in the Sultanate of Oman: The Ethical and Political Effects
  • Emmanuel Yenkong Sobseh, University of Bamenda. German Cultural Heritage and Decolonisation in British and French Cameroons, 1884–1961

12:15–13:15 Keynote Presentation

  • Sudeshna Guha, Shiv Nadar University, India. Decolonising South Asia through Heritage- and Nation-Building

About the Keynote Speakers

Daniel J. Sherman is Lineberger Distinguished Professor of Art History and History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His books include The Construction of Memory in Interwar France (1999), French Primitivism and the Ends of Empire, 1945-1975 (2011), and, as editor, Museum Culture (1994) and Museums and Difference (2008). He is currently working on a book tentatively entitled Sensations: French Archaeology between Science and Media, 1890-1930.

Sudeshna Guha is Associate Professor of History at Shiv Nadar University (India). She has curated photographic and archaeological collections at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (1997-2005), University of Cambridge, and also taught South Asian history there (2005-2008). She is currently developing research on archaeological heritage in South Asia focusing on ethics, and writing a book on Objects and Histories (Hachette, New Delhi). Her other books are The Marshall Albums: Photography and Archaeology (edited volume; Mapin, 2010), and Artefacts of History: Archaeology, Historiography and Indian Pasts (SAGE, 2015).


Conference organisers: William Carruthers, Andreas Gestrich and Indra Sengupta, German Historical Institute London; Rodney Harrison, AHRC Heritage Priority Area Leadership Fellow, UCL Institute of Archaeology