Heri04
The cultural politics of emotion: transformations of heritage and the sacred

Convenors:
Ernst van den Hemel (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)
Duane Jethro (Humboldt University Berlin)
Discussant:
Irene Stengs (Meertens Institute)
Stream:
Heritage
Location:
Aula 21
Start time:
16 April, 2019 at 11:15
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

Heritage is often invoked as an unassailable core and sacred expression of collective identity. Exploring how heritagization and sacralisation are involved in contemporary transformations, we focus on trajectories that shape heritage and the cultural politics of emotion in the twenty-first century

Long abstract:

Whether it concerns debates on national identity, the role of religion in 'the West', or the capacity of newcomers to 'integrate' into a culture, heritage is frequently invoked as an unassailable core and sacred expression of collective identity. Significantly, those who belong are expected not only to respect rights and duties, but to feel an authentic connection and commitment to the heritage collective. Processes of heritagization and sacralisation are thus involved in some of the most profound transformations in today's world. Appeals to heritage and notions of identity often evoke intense emotions, contestations and mechanisms of in- and exclusion. We are interested in the new and diverse trajectories that shape heritage and the cultural politics of emotion in the twenty-first century. In light of this rapidly changing and contested field the ethnographic approach is perfectly suited to unpack and map the intricate ways in which heritage is taken up in practices of identity formation. Such an approach enables us to investigate in detail the question of when and how heritage becomes valued and experienced as sacred. We specifically invite contributions that focus on: the role of heritage in nascent nationalism and debates on national identity; the influence sacralisation of heritage has on the way migration is conceptualized; and the opportunities and foreclosures heritage and the cultural politics of emotion in the twenty-first century offers migrants themselves.