Accepted Paper:

Nostalgias of peace and development: global actors in the heritage valorization of modern architecture in Asmara, Eritrea  
Christoph Rausch (Maastricht University)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

After decades of civil war in Ethiopia, in 1993 Eritrea declared its independence and became the youngest nation state in Africa. The Eritrean capital city of Asmara had experienced neither damage, nor any notable urban development. Its historic perimeter built by the former Italian colonizers under Mussolini survives as an ensemble of early modern architecture and as such was recently added to the tentative UNESCO World Heritage list.

Today, Eritrea sustains a border conflict with Ethiopia and its government pursues a radical policy of self-reliance. Global actors such as the Worldbank, the EC delegation, UNESCO, as well as foreign governments consider engagement with cultural heritage as an effective intervention in peace and development. Drawing on multi-sited ethnographic research of intergovernmental and governmental actors in the heritage valorization of modern architecture in Asmara, this paper critically analyzes the introduction of the concept of cultural heritage as a tool in conflict resolution and development.

Panel W100
The anthropology of international organizations