This panel will consider issues of informal and participatory heritage transmission in South Asia, operating in relation to dominant or absent heritage regimes.
This panel will consider issues of informal and participatory heritage transmission in South Asia, operating in relation to dominant or absent heritage regimes. For example, in Pakistan, a lack of heritage infrastructure and industrial support has forced market-based film retailers to pull master copies and memorabilia materials from obscurity via neighbourhood waste collectors, indifferent heirs, or from closed and destroyed cinemas. In post-war Sri Lanka, the state's triumphalist discourse has been met with the mobilisation of photographs of the war dead and missing as objects of civilian resistance and collective memory, forming a participatory counter-narrative. These examples signal the existence of forms of mobile and temporary guardianship. Such acts are conducive to mourning and memorialisation, and as contingent on participation as on authority, access, and ownership. Platforms for sharing, saving, and disseminating significant images are notably porous; they are characterised by an exorbitance that preserves far more than they intend to. Museum institutions and archives, on the other hand, permit the movement of heritage objects only so long as it takes place within a wider infrastructure for its dissemination. Such acts of dispersion are designed to be economically and socially productive, politically expedient, as well as generative of a heritage as a category of political economy. Thereby, the panel will explore examples of mobile and temporary guardianship, spread across sites and carriers, marked by reproduction and dispersal beyond the actual or symbolic boundaries of heritage regimes.