Accepted Paper:

Recycling Catholic memories in Rhodes: circulation of objects, alternative heritage devices and religious minority memory  


Cyril Isnart (CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

This text describes the Catholic cultural heritage claim in Rhodes to show how different layers of memory and heritage devices are recycled and appropriated by a minority in a postcolonial, multiconfessional, World Heritage and tourist context.

Paper long abstract:

The paper aims at describing the contemporary heritage activities of the Roman Catholic minority of the island of Rhodes. The community is inscribed in a multilayered context including mass tourism, Unesco World Heritage policies, multiconfessional coexistence, long-term Christian presence and Italian postcolonial revival. The Catholics are thus embedded in a singular relation to the different influences of the local history and daily deal with different modalities of preserving, safeguarding and displaying cultural heritage. I examine here the circulation and recycling of at work in the heritage agency of the Catholic Church and show how much these choices are determinate by the internal organization of the Church, by the relationships they build with the other confessions, by their role of host for the thousands Catholic tourists in summer and by the anteriority of their presence in the island. Focusing on the treatment of the liturgical objects, the restoration of their current worship places and claim on their former ones, the paper analyses reformulations, appropriations and circulations of the Catholic heritage agency patterns in Rhodes and disentangles the multiple memories they use to take place in the complex public space.

Panel P26
Mediation and circulation of cultural memory in identity settings