Decolonising Heritage in South Asia : The Global, the National and the Transnational book cover
1st Edition

Decolonising Heritage in South Asia
The Global, the National and the Transnational

ISBN 9781138505599
Published September 10, 2018 by Routledge India
258 Pages 54 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This volume cross-examines the stability of heritage as a concept. It interrogates the past which materialises through multi-layered narratives on monuments and other objects that sustain cultural diversity. It seeks to understand how interpretations of “monuments” as “texts” are affected at the local level of experience, even as institutions such as UNESCO work to globalise and fix constructs of stable and universal heritage.

Shifting away from a largely Eurocentric concept associated with architecture and monumental archaeology, this book reassesses how local and regional heritage needs to be balanced with the global and transnational. It argues that material objects and monuments are not static embodiments of culture but are, rather, a medium through which identity, power and society are produced and reproduced. This is especially relevant in South and Southeast Asian contexts, where debates over heritage often have local, regional and national political implications and consequences.

Reevaluating how traditional valuation of monuments and cultural landscapes could help aid sustainability and long-term preservation of the heritage, this book will be useful for scholars and researchers of South and Southeast Asian history, heritage studies, archaeology, cultural studies, tourism studies and political history as well.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Himanshu Prabha Ray

Part I: World Heritage Sites and Cartographies

2. One World, Two Missions: UNESCO World Heritage in the Making

Lynn Meskell

3. Valuation of World Heritage

Indira Rajaraman

4. The Multivalence of Landscapes: Archaeology and Heritage

Uthara Suvrathan

Part II: Case Studies of World Heritage Sites in India

5. Monumentality, Nature and World Monuments: The Rock-cut Sites of Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta in Maharashtra

Pia Brancaccio

6. Re-movable Heritage: Nalanda Beyond the Mahavihara

Salila Kulshrestha

7. The Qutub Minar Complex and the Village of Mehrauli: Multiple Meanings in Monuments

Swapna Liddle

Part III: Transnational Heritage

8. Beyond World Heritage: Lumbinī – The Creation of a More Meaningful Site?

Max Deeg

10. The Implementation of Tri Hita Karana on the World Heritage of Taman Ayun and Tirta Empul Temples as Tourist Attractions in Bali

I Wayan Ardika

11. Transnational Heritage: Building Bridges for the Future

Himanshu Prabha Ray


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Himanshu Prabha Ray is Honorary Professor of the Distant Worlds Programme, Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. She is former Chairperson, National Monuments Authority, Ministry of Culture in New Delhi, India, and former Professor in the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. Her research interests include Maritime History and Archaeology of the Indian Ocean, the History of Archaeology in South and Southeast Asia and the Archaeology of Religion in Asia. Her recent books include Archaeology and Buddhism in South Asia (2018), Buddhism and Gandhara: An Archaeology of Museum Collections (ed. 2018), The Archaeology of Sacred Spaces: The Temple in Western India, 2nd century BCE to 8th century CE (with Susan Verma Mishra, 2017), The Return of the Buddha: Ancient Symbols for a New Nation (2014) and The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia (2003). Her edited volumes include Bridging the Gulf: Maritime Cultural Heritage of the Western Indian Ocean (2016), Indian World Heritage Sites in Context (2014), The Sea, Identity and History: From the Bay of Bengal to the South China Sea (with Satish Chandra, 2013).