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This combined panel and roundtable critically discusses theories, policies, and practices of international cultural relations that deal with cultural heritage by exploring and seeking to overcome power hierarchies and explicit and implicit discriminative attitudes and ideologies included in them.
Despite the fact that heritage is commonly seen as an essential element in transmitting cultural values, narratives, and identities, international cultural relations that deal with cultural heritage remain an under-researched topic. In this panel, we refer to these relations as heritage diplomacy and discuss what it actually is, what are its limitations, and how it could or should be approached in theory, policy, and praxis. Despite good aims that all diplomatic endeavors may have, its processes and practices can still include various unwanted effects. It may intentionally or unintentionally transfer values and norms from one country, region, or group of people to another, and rank them in a way that echoes (cultural) imperialism and hierarchical power relations. The panel invites contributions in which the understanding of heritage diplomacy seeks to go beyond current theories and conceptualizations of international cultural relations and instead approach heritage diplomacy from various critical points of view, such as decolonial studies, gender studies, critical heritage studies, or critical geopolitics, to mention a few. The panel discusses how various traditional 'grand narratives', such as nationalism, colonialism, Eurocentrism, cultural elitism, fetishizing of expert knowledge, and social exclusion based on class and ethnicity, impact cultural relations and how policies and practices of heritage diplomacy may renew or rethink them. Moreover, the panel questions heritage diplomacy as 'soft power' aiming at impacting 'outsiders' and the conditions 'outside' one's own cultural borders in a globalized world that is characterized by the constant movement of people, ideas, and cultural features.
Maximum number of panel papers: 10
Number of roundtable participants: 5