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Accepted Paper:

Local Constructions of al-Andalus: Situating Their Accompanying Debates on Ethical Values Amid Shifting Politics Ideas of Heritage Management  
Elaine McIlwraith (The University of Western Ontario)

Paper short abstract:

Particularist views of heritage management in Granada, Spain, seem to be prevailing, yet narratives continue to promote universal values, and EU values reinforced by its Christian past. Recent shifts can stress the latter but have to maintain the former, making changes in ethical notions subtle.

Paper long abstract:

Closer consideration of heritage developments in Granada, Spain over the past ten years suggest that, while particularist views of heritage management have seemingly become dominant, historical narratives locally continue to promote the universal value of sites, but also continue to privilege EU values reinforced by its Christian past. Narratives tied to Muslim heritage in the city are necessarily rooted in universalist constructions due to the dual Alhambra-Albayzin UNESCO World Heritage (WHS) designation. Yet, the shift of heritage site management to a right-wing coalition government in 2018 has meant a move away from narratives that view heritage management as a responsibility to conserve, rehabilitate sites and disseminate knowledge, particularly of the Muslim past. Drawing on fieldwork in Granada and the Alhambra, I compare this recent shift towards right-wing heritage values privileging tourism and the historical narrative of the Christian Reconquest of Muslim Spain, to the 2012-2013 failed centre-left leaning bid to declare the controversial commemoration of the Day of the Capture – an annual event that marks the end of Muslim Spain – as a BIC (a ‘cultural good’). This earlier bid, despite seemingly aligning with the current shift, has not been attempted since, suggesting that particularist narratives haven’t found a widespread hold locally. I argue that because of the WHS designation and its required universalist narratives along with EU policies of dialogue and tolerance with the Arab-Islamic world, any shifts in collective concepts of rights and morality that the cultural protectionism of the political right generates are/will be extremely subtle.

Panel Irre08b
Taking responsibility for the past: heritage ethics in an era of cultural protectionism II
  Session 1 Friday 2 April, 2021, -