CFP Heritage and Art between State Ideology and Grassroots Activism

Heritage and Art between State Ideology and Grassroots Activism

Panel to be held at the 2009 ASA Conference, Bristol (UK), 6-9 April 2009

Organized by Chiara De Cesari ( and Rozita Dimova (

Discussants: Victor Buchli, Ian Hodder

Short abstract:
This panel explores the relationship between heritage and art and their
politics. Focus is on examining this relationship beyond taken-for-granted
dichotomies, and on illuminating the ways in which heritage and art
participate in both forms of dominance and projects of resistance.

Long abstract:
This panel explores the relationship between heritage and art by examining
their complex articulations. Saliently rooted in and affected by politics,
art and heritage become sites where state ideologies and grassroots
activisms are produced, shaped and disseminated. Bearing this in mind, the
primary objective of the panel is to investigate this relationship in a
variety of diverse, contemporary contexts. We would like to critically
interrogate the view that heritage and art represent radically different
approaches to the material world, one focusing on conservation, the other on
change. By stressing the practices that they share, such as representation,
interpretation, recontextualization, and display, we would like to reveal
the blurred boundaries between the two domains, emphasizing how heritage and
art lie at the crossroads of tradition/modernity, continuity/change, and
conservation/creativity. In addition to questioning the art/heritage
dichotomy, our goal will be to analyze the complex politics surrounding and
informing this alliance. While the protection and valorization of a
“distinctive” heritage has become a central concern of national and
transnational cultural policies targeting not only tourism promotion, but
also socio-economic development and post-conflict reconciliation, our
fieldwork research discloses how heritage and art can be mobilized by both
projects of exclusion and projects of emancipation. As we investigate the
multiple ways in which the two participate in forms of dominance (e.g.,
producing orientalist images, reifying the state or affecting the spatial
politics of neoliberalism), we will also emphasize that heritage and art can
turn into important sites of grassroots cultural resistance.

The deadline for abstracts is February 6th, 2009. Abstracts should be
submitted ONLINE, following the link at the bottom of this webpage (“propose
a paper”):

Chiara De Cesari
Research Institute for History and Culture
Utrecht University
The Netherlands

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