Inhaltspezifische Aktionen

Heritage Studies and Socialism: Transnational Perspectives on Heritage in Eastern and Central Europe


23.11.2016 17:00 bis 25.11.2016 17:00 (Europe/Berlin / UTC100)


Philosophikum I, Alter Steinbacher Weg 38, R. 001

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In the last decade, heritage studies have emerged as a field of cross-disciplinary research covering the topics including the built environment, museums and collections, urban planning, memory, and tourism. Though dealing with objects and practices of the past, heritage studies are rather concerned with the relation of heritage to the present and its role in the future. Temporality is thus central to the understanding of heritage, which is not limited to the present-day and is increasingly explored from a historical perspective. Research on notions and practices of heritage in the past can shed light on the formation of today’s heritage practices and policies; but it might also uncover the selection and dissension affecting what was to be preserved for the future.


In the international field of heritage studies, however, research on Eastern and Central Europe still remains marginal. This is not only due to regional interests, but may also be due to the current scholarship’s prevalent concept of heritage being drawn predominantly from Western European and postcolonial contexts. The workshop “Heritage Studies and Socialism” brings together both early career researchers and established researchers for a discussion about the concept of heritage in relation to the Eastern and Central European region. In light of the different traditions in heritage policies and property rights, what notion of heritage do we employ for the study of heritage in socialist and post-socialist societies? Using this question as a point of departure, we seek to critically engage with the field of heritage studies and reflect on core concepts of heritage studies such as authenticity and originality. We discuss the advantages and limitations of these approaches when applied to the (post-) socialist context, while also bringing together alternative approaches from the examples presented during the workshop.


The workshop is organised by the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe in Marburg, in cooperation with the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC), University of Giessen, and the Imre Kertész Kolleg at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Leibniz Research Alliance “Historical Authenticity”.


Keynote speakers: Dr. Astrid Swenson (Brunel University London), PD Dr.-Ing. Michael Falser (Heidelberg University)