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Understanding Heritage and Memory (Understanding Global Heritage) [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Tim Benton

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Book Description

1 Jan 2010 071908153X 978-0719081538 First Edition
We often think of heritage as collective remembering, but war memorials and non-material aspects of culture, such as language and literature, can also function as tools for collective forgetting. The past we inherit and the present we create are both plagued with problems of commemoration, for just as memory adapts to new circumstances, so too does heritage. This book challenges the assumption that the criteria for conservation can be reduced to a single set of set of aesthetic, historical or scientific judgments. It explores the tensions between natural and cultural classifications of World Heritage sites, and questions whether the concept of 'cultural landscape' advances our historical understanding or merely confuses the layered meanings of a cumulative past. While First World War memorial sites in Britain provide a vehicle for national memories, examples of Italian, German, Singaporean and Malaysian landscapes also show parallel, and sometimes dissonant, memory work in action. The book is unique in drawing together heritage and memory studies by considering the role of multiculturalism and virtual worlds in transforming the relationship of heritage to issues of memory, identity and a changing environment. Can heritage practices reconcile the aspirations and histories of everyone in diverse societies? How do notions of heritage create communities in the vivid but ephemeral experiences of 'Second Life'? Does a digital archive represent 'memory'? With its firmly interdisciplinary and global approach, 'Understanding Heritage and Memory' will be of interest not only to students of heritage studies, but also to students and professionals in the fields of archeology, architecture and built environment studies, art history, anthropology, sociology, history, human geography, religious studies, museum studies, cultural studies, natural heritage management, and leisure and tourism studies. This book is one of three in the 'Understanding Global Heritage' series.

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About the Author

Tim Benton is Professor of Art History at The Open University

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