Places of Pain and Shame
Dealing with 'Difficult Heritage'
Edited by William Logan, Keir Reeves
Routledge – 2008 – 290 pages
Series: Key Issues in Cultural Heritage
Places of Pain and Shame is a cross-cultural study of sites that represent painful and/or shameful episodes in a national or local community’s history, and the ways that government agencies, heritage professionals and the communities themselves seek to remember, commemorate and conserve these cases – or, conversely, choose to forget them.
Such episodes and locations include: massacre and genocide sites, places related to prisoners of war, civil and political prisons, and places of ‘benevolent’ internment such as leper colonies and lunatic asylums. These sites bring shame upon us now for the cruelty and futility of the events that occurred within them and the ideologies they represented. They are however increasingly being regarded as ‘heritage sites’, a far cry from the view of heritage that prevailed a generation ago when we were almost entirely concerned with protecting the great and beautiful creations of the past, reflections of the creative genius of humanity rather than the reverse – the destructive and cruel side of history.
Why has this shift occurred, and what implications does it have for professionals practicing in the heritage field? In what ways is this a ‘difficult’ heritage to deal with? This volume brings together academics and practitioners to explore these questions, covering not only some of the practical matters, but also the theoretical and conceptual issues, and uses case studies of historic places, museums and memorials from around the globe, including the United States, Northern Ireland, Poland, South Africa, China, Japan, Taiwan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Timor and Australia.
"William Logan and Keir Reeves are to be congratulated for putting together an outstanding collection of essays that critically evaluate the potentials and pitfalls of different sites of 'difficult heritage.' … Importantly, these papers consistently strike the right tone between rigorous intellectual inquiry and respectful dialogue. The authors all seem acutely aware that these sites should not just be academic playthings but are vital to people’s sense of personhood, history, and justice." -Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Current Anthropology, Volume 51, Number 3, June 2010
“This is an interesting and courageous book that explores a challenging and fascinating subject through many significant political and cultural sites. It makes an important contribution to, what is at least in Australia, a modest body of literature that critically engages with and examines heritage theory and practice and connects it with the constant work of communities and nations in trying to imagine, define and cohere identity.” - Peter Romey and Sharon Veale
1. Remembering Places of Pain and Shame 2. Let the Dead be Remembered: Interpretation of the Nanjing Massacre Memorial 3. The Hiroshima "Peace Memorial": Transforming Legacy, Memories and Landscapes 4. Auschwitz-Birkenau: The Challenges of Heritage Management Following the Cold War 5. "Dig a Hole and Bury the Past in It": Reconciliation and the Heritage of Genocide in Cambodia 6. The Myall Creek Memorial: History, Identity and Reconciliation 7. Cowra Japanese War Cemetry 8. A Cave in Taiwan: Comfort Women's Memories and the Local Identity 9. Postcolonial Shame: Heritage and the Forgotten Pain of Civilian Women Internees in Java 10. Difficult Memories: The Independence Struggle as Cultural Heritage in East Timor 11. Port Arthur, Norfolk Island, New Caledonia: Convict Prison Islands in the Antipodes 12. Hoa Lo Museum, Hanoi: Changing Attitudes to a Vietnamese Place of Pain and Shame 13. Places of Pain as Tools for Social Justice in the "New" South Africa: Black Heritage Preservation in the "Rainbow" Nation's Townships 14. Negotiating Places of Pain in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland: Debating the Future of the Maze/Prison/Long Kesh 15. Beauty Springing from the Breast of Pain . "No Less than a Palace: Kew Asylum, its Planned Surrounds, and its Present-Day Residents 17. Between the Hostel and the Detention Centre: Possible Trajectories of Migrant Pain and Shame in Australia