1st Edition

Future Stories in the Global Heritage Industry

    232 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Future Stories in the Global Heritage Industry explores what happens to the heritage and memory of communities that find themselves in contact with the rest of the world when they become UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

    Written by an interdisciplinary group of emerging scholars and heritage professionals connected to these sites through their own heritage, this volume considers how a community can engage with a site’s globalized importance while retaining its own sense of history. Drawing on oral histories, ethnographic methods, film, interviews, and archival research, the book adds to the discourse around Critical Heritage Studies. It does so by putting theories into practice in selected heritage sites in Romania, the UAE/India, Eritrea, China, Mozambique, Tanzania and Malaysia. The book also contributes towards the dismantlement of the many dichotomies imposed on heritage from the divisions between natural and cultural, or tangible and intangible in the UNESCO Conventions and Eurocentric heritage practices. Looking towards the future of the past, the volume asks whether heritage can be objectively or equitably managed, as it increasingly comes into conflict with issues around nation-building, climate change, social class, ethnicity, religion and gender.

    Future Stories in the Global Heritage Industry will be of great interest to academics and students engaged in the study of heritage, sociology, public history, history, international studies, sociology and anthropology.

    Introduction. (Re)Emerging Pasts: Cultural Heritage Beyond UNESCO World Heritage Site Definitions

    Alia Yunis, Robert Parthesius, and NiccolòAcram Cappelletto

    1.     Jingdezhen’s Imperial Kiln Archaeological Park as “The Last Home of the Ancient Potters” and Negotiations of Ownership and Belonging by the Contemporary Migrant Artist Community 

    Rayna Li  

    2.     Where Would I Walk to Decolonize Myself? Film and Heritage between Eritrea and Italy

    NiccolòAcram Cappelletto

    3.     Endangering Multiculturalism: UNESCO’s Impact on Street Food Heritage in George Town, Malaysia

    Matthew Tan

    4.     A Future Beyond the Monuments: Social and Climate Changes on the Island of Mozambique

    Verónica Mateus Pereira

    5.     The Golden Hill: Who owns Roșia Montană?

    Laura Xenopol

    6.      Who Owns the Right to Tell a Story? A Study of Occupational Sex Desegregation of Tour Guiding in Zanzibar

    Claire Louise Okatch

    7.     Building Boats and Heritage: Understanding Shipbuilding Knowledge and Techniques in the Western Indian Ocean

    Noora Jabir


    Alia Yunis is a scholar, filmmaker, and writer whose work primarily engages with memory and heritage, particularly in the Arab and Muslim worlds and their diaspora. As program head of Center of Heritage Activities (CIE), she oversees the development of HeritageLab’s interactive platforms connecting heritage and memory across oceans, particularly the online documentary Tree Routed. She recently co-edited Reorienting the Middle East: Film and Digital Media between the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea (Indiana University Press, 2024). In 2010, she co-founded the Zayed University Middle East Film Festival (ZUMEFF), now the longest running film festival in the Gulf. Her work has been translated into 10 languages.


    Robert Parthesius is program head and associate Professor Heritage and Museum Studies and founding director of Dhakira–Center for Heritage Studies at New York University in Abu Dhabi. He is also the founder of the Amsterdam-based CIE–Centre for International Heritage Activities (UNESCO accredited NGO).  A maritime historical-archaeologist and museum curator who has worked extensively on different World Heritage Port Cities reflecting on the rich maritime connections in the Indian Ocean. The way communities were using the past for their present through heritage creation became the main focus of his research. The broad base of involved heritage stakeholders fostered the growth of an innovative HeritageLab research concept: This interactive platform offers opportunities for researchers, artists, students, and communities to participate in multidisciplinary projects that rethink the heritage concept and its uses. Parthesius has published widely, including scholarly books and academic papers and exhibition catalogues and publications for general audiences. He has organized several international heritage conferences, and is an accredited UNESCO expert, serving at various expert committees of ICOMOS and ICOM.


    NiccolòAcram Cappelletto (he/him) is a writer and independent researcher, currently an MA student in Arts, Museology and Curatorship at University of Bologna. After his BA in Art History at New York University Abu Dhabi, he worked as a Post-Graduate Research Fellow with Dhakira Center for Heritage Studies on the relationship between heritage and art in postcolonial Italy, culminating in the first Dhakira Heritage Film Festival. In 2022, part of the research ended up in the booklet The Afterlives of the Postcolonial (Sharjah Art Foundation). In 2021, he joined as editor Global Art Daily, an independent publication on contemporary art in the UAE. These experiences raised his interest for a decolonial perspective of today’s theoretical frameworks.