Institute of Archaeology

Cultural Heritage, Globalisation and Development

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 course is taught by means of 10 three-hour lecture and seminar sessions. The sessions will consist of presentations by the IoA and Centre for Applied Archaeology staff on particular key themes/ issues.


The assessment is a project (5,000 words) that aims to further develop specific research and analytical skills and critical engagement with the course topics. Students need to engage with and include in their assessment the following sets of research skills: 1. ethnographic methodologies which must include observation skills and interview techniques. 2. visual methods aimed at recording/ archiving a place or practice or set of objects.3. object analysis skills and material culture research methods

Course information

For registered students


  • Running in 2017-18

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