Wed, 08 Feb|
Seeking the Common Complexities in the Authenticity of Heritage beyond the "Eastern" and "Western" Dichotomy
Dr. Qian Gao (Assistant Professor at Durham University)
Time & Location
08 Feb 2023, 17:30 – 19:30
IMEMS, 7 Owengate, Durham DH1 3HB, UK
About the event
Organised by the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) as part of the IMEMS Seminar Series.
(Free) Hybrid event: in-person (no registration required) and online (registration required through this link: https://durhamuniversity.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mwXbom2-SKiky9XDhK3jyA)
Original Page: https://www.durham.ac.uk/research/institutes-and-centres/medieval-early-modern-studies/events/general-events-/imems-seminar---epiphany-term-2023/
In recent decades, there has been a significant critique of ‘Eurocentric’ notions of heritage conservation, drawing on ‘non-Western,’ particularly Asian, contexts. Authenticity has been a core principle and defining feature of this development. A relativistic approach emphasising the cultural specificity of authenticity has been introduced alongside the European-originated materialist approach in international policy and conservation philosophy, as endorsed by a series of charters and documents. The promotion of Asian difference, on the other hand, has contributed to an increasingly entrenched and unproductive dichotomy between ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ approaches to heritage. This talk reveals the common complexities surrounding authenticity in two countries crosscutting this dualism – China and Scotland. The analysis, which draws on a number of ethnographic projects, identifies themes that characterise the experience of authenticity in various cultural contexts. It calls into question the alleged divide between ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ concepts and approaches to authenticity in heritage conservation, and it contributes to a more nuanced understanding of the changing relationship between heritage conservation and contemporary societies across ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ borders.