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Studies on cultural heritage mainly focus on the elite and normative discourses inflicted by hegemonic institutions on people's culture. This panel intends to reverse and complexify the question: how does the heritage agency of minoritized groups work and what is the role of material dimensions?
The now well established and multidisciplinary tradition of critical heritage studies stands on a shared and acknowledged statement: cultural heritage can be considered a discursive tool of domination inflected by political, administration and government elites on the people they are supposed to serve. The academic literature provides hundreds of cases-studies showing that museums, natural parks, libraries or archives tend to forget cultural diversity and cancel different conceptions of what culture is out of the Western heritage frame. Other works demonstrate the creative and exponential endeavours of political and cultural institutions to include - or not - alterity, otherness and diversity in their daily life - especially in post-colonial configurations.
However, how minoritized groups themselves develop their heritage agency are underrepresented in the literature and material dimensions rarely enter the field of investigation. Reversing the classical views of heritage studies and crossing discursive and material dimensions can help ask new questions: Which kinds of objects (vs. discourses) are defended by minorities leaders (vs. negotiated by heritage professionals)? How do they contest the visual and material (vs. narrative) supremacy of dominant heritage? What are the practical devices (vs. discursive strategies) they use in order demonstrate their will of recognition? Can we assess the role of tangible and intangible objects in heritage manoeuvres of minoritized people (vs. examining how heritage actors work with minorities)?
This panel welcomes case-studies from different disciplines, analysed from the perspective of the minoritized groups in Europe and aboard, which question, in sum, the heritage life of minorities objects.