Heritage and the Politics of Culture
As Appadurai (1996) pointed out, the process of globalization is characterized by
de-territorialization and re-territorialization. In this talk, I will trace two kinds of place-making. At Anyang Yinxu World Heritage Site, several parallel heritage practices co-exist. On the one hand, the state has been excavating and conserving the site since 1928, and its discovery led China to claim its three thousand year history by demonstrating the existence of Shang dynasty. The excavation, mapping and recording of the Yinxu archeological site has enhanced people’s understanding of it and of Chinese history. The site was included as a heritage protection site in 1961, and listed as a World Heritage Site in 2006. On the other hand, several villages around the site have experienced dramatic life changes since their beloved place has been included as a national, and now as a world heritage site. There are 14 villages involved; each village has a shrine for worshipping a different deity. Local villagers draw their village boundaries through temple making (Feuchtwang 2004), and their life-cycles are also marked by various temple activities. Their sense of heritage, memory and history of the place contrast with the one claimed by the state (cf. Herzfeld 1991). In this talk, I intend to offer an alternate vision of how villagers conserve their heritage and memorialize the place by tracing the life stories of Huayuanzhou villagers, who were forced to relocate since 2009, and showing how these villagers connect to their original homes through worshipping the temple-shrine at Yinxu.