Institute of Archaeology


Heritage, Globalisation and Development

This course critically explores cultural heritage by focusing upon the issues surrounding the applied context of heritage.

In this course we critically explore cultural heritage by focusing upon the issues surrounding the applied context of heritage and thus on the practical, operational implementation of cultural heritage projects and programmes and more specifically we explore the complex relationships of heritage to the field of development. Moreover, we understand the field of development in complex and diverse ways and thus we examine development and its associated agendas such as poverty reduction, advocacy, human/cultural rights, citizenship, aid, humanitarianism, environmentalism, post-conflict reconstruction and wellbeing alongside a broader consideration of experiences of modernity, globalisation and change. The local - or better still 'globalised' - impacts of such experiences are a central critical and ethical concern.

We thus begin by exploring the role of different heritage brokers, development and funding agencies, advocacy organisations and both public participation in and protest to heritage development and map the diverse 'actors' in such operational networks. From macro to micro contexts we critically examine how, for example, the World Bank, UN/ UNESCO, the Getty, the Aga Khan Foundation, interact with other 'actors' such as assemblies of Indigenous Peoples/ Survival International and national organisations including English Heritage/ Greenpeace and how these groups operate alongside regional/ local agencies, NGOs and campaigning/ protest/activist groups 'outside' mainstream heritage development. UK, European and International case-study contexts will be drawn upon to investigate emergent themes and issues and to engage in institutional analyses. We also address the changing nature of cultural heritage management and the transformation of professional skills and responsibilities. 

Aims of the course

  • appreciate the intimate relationships and tensions between conceptual analyses of cultural heritage and the variety of global applied operational contexts and be aware of the need to develop critical frameworks and professional policy to understand these interrelationships in their fullest sense.
  • be familiar with a range of research skills and methods that will form the basis of both their understanding of heritage professionalism and will provide the basis for research skills and methods.

Teaching methods

The module is taught by means of 10 two-hour lectures, 10 one-hour seminars and 2 site/field visits. The lectures consist of presentations on particular key themes/issues and are led by the coordinator and invited professional and academic speakers. Students are divided into smaller groups for their seminar sessions which focus on critical discussion and practical exercises related to methodologies for researching heritage.


The module is assessed by means of a single piece of coursework, a research assignment, of between 3,800-4,200 words. This assignment is intended to enable you to develop specific research and analytical skills and demonstrate critical engagement with the course topics.

Students will produce a piece of original heritage research which investigates a question or issue of their choice relating to a particular site/initiative/ project connected with heritage, globalisation and/or development in some context.

This will be undertaken using one or more of the social research methods we introduce in seminars; including, but not limited to, critical analysis of policy documents, archives, and digital/online sources; the collection of primary data through the observation and analysis of behaviour, place and/or spatial dynamics; structured/semi-structured oral interviews; and/or the study of material and visual culture. Students will be encouraged to select the focus case study/site for their essay early in the term, to help with their practical tasks in seminars.

Course information

For registered students


  • Running in 2020-21