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Heritage Dynamics

Heritage Dynamics: Politics of Authentication and Aesthetics of Persuasion in Brazil, Ghana, South Africa and the Netherlands

Coordinators: Prof.dr. Birgit Meyer (VU), Dr. Mattijs van de Port (ASSR), Prof.dr. Herman Roodenburg (Meertens Instituut), Dr. Marleen Witte (VU)
Research participants: 3 PhD positions financed by NWO: Markus Balkenhol (Meertens Instituut, Amsterdam), Duane Jethro (South Africa), Maria Paula Adinolfi (Brazil)

Brief description:

This multidisciplinary, international, comparative program focuses on (a) the framing of cultural heritage in multicultural arenas, (b) its intersection with citizenship and identity, (c) attempts to designcultural heritage in such a way that it appear as ‘authentic’ and ‘real’ (politics of authentication) and (d) the extent to which cultural heritage is – or is not – subjectively experienced as objectively real (aesthetics of persuasion) in Brazil, Ghana, South Africa and the Netherlands. Combining (1) a thorough analysis of the processes by which canons-in-the-making are re-mediated with (2) an in-depth empirical study of how cultural heritage becomes inscribed into understandings of self through embodied performances, this project seeks (3) to develop a comparative framework, and (4) to move cultural analysis beyond the trodden paths of constructivist and essentializing approaches.