Heritage and the Politics of Culture
This session brings together scholars working on heritage politics in different parts of East and Southeast Asia. The conservation and promotion of heritage has become a critical issue throughout East and Southeast Asia in light of both new and ongoing political, economic, social and cultural processes that traverse local, national and global scales to advance their respective agendas. One example is China’s One Belt One Road Initiative, which seeks to (re)develop a ‘Maritime Silk Road’, connecting Southeast Asia, China and Europe. This not only has political-economic implications for the countries involved, but also, as we will demonstrate, for the region’s cultural heritage, both in a discursive and material sense. In particular, we consider how trans-national networks and power structures across scales have the potential to reconfigure repackage heritage in particular places and examine their impacts on people and places. This session thus makes a strong contribution to the conference theme ‘Asia and Europe, Asia in Europe’, by exploring the trans-national connections that are (re)shaping heritage and identity politics in Southeast Asia.