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The Best We Share: Nation, Culture and World-Making in the UNESCO World Heritage

Shaping Asia-Heritage lecture series

10:00 - 12:00
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The UNESCO World Heritage Convention of 1972 is one of the most widely ratified
international treaties, and the World Heritage title given to cultural and natural sites of
“outstanding universal value” has grown into a major mark of distinction and global brand. In
the 2010s, it has become significantly easier to get on the World Heritage List, and
conservation demands for the sites so honoured have also grown softer. The lecture
introduces a new book on the reasons for this transformation, based on ethnographic
fieldwork at Committee sessions, interviews and documentary study conducted over a
decade. Structural nation-centeredness of the World Heritage Committee; vulnerable
procedures for evaluation, monitoring and decision-making; and loose and inconsistently
applied heritage conceptions have all played their part. The strongest factor for bringing
about the new mode of operations, however, were lingering North-South imbalances and the
frustrations they caused. Yet precisely because the wishes of influential countries from the
Global South are now more readily fulfilled, imbalances remain, in similar ways as in other
international bodies. All this is undergirded by basic consensus on a central premise — even
with more than one thousand entries, the World Heritage List is incomplete and must
continue to grow.

Prof. Dr. Christoph Brumann is Head of Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for
Social Anthropology, Halle, and Honorary Professor of Anthropology at the University of
Halle-Wittenberg. In addition to The Best We Share (2021), he is the author of Tradition,
Democracy and the Townscape of Kyoto: Claiming a Right to the Past (2012) and the coeditor
of Monks, Money, and Morality: The Balancing Act of Contemporary Buddhism
(2021), World Heritage on the Ground: Ethnographic Perspectives (2016), Urban Spaces in
Japan: Cultural and Social Perspectives (2012) and Making Japanese Heritage (2010). He has
also published on the anthropological concept of culture, Japanese practices of gift-giving,
and utopian communes. He is a member of the Academia Europaea.

Alles auf einen Blick:

  • Veranstalter: Fakultät für Soziologie
  • Zeit: 02.12.2021, 10:00 - 12:00
  • Zielgruppe: Lehrende, Studierende, Wissenschaftler*innen
  • Öffentlichkeit:
  • Anmeldung: Link zur Event-Website