Global Heritage Assemblages: Development and Modern Architecture in Africa, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Global Heritage Assemblages

Development and Modern Architecture in Africa, 1st Edition

By Christoph Rausch


240 pages

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UNESCO aims to tackle Africa’s under-representation on its World Heritage List by inscribing instances of nineteenth- and twentieth-century modern architecture and urban planning there. But, what is one to make of the utopias of progress and development for which these buildings and sites stand? After all, concern for ‘modern heritage’ invariably—and paradoxically it seems—has to reckon with those utopias as problematic futures of the past, a circumstance complicating intentions to preserve a recent ‘culture’ of modernization on the African continent.

This book, a new title in Routledge’s Studies in Culture and Development series, introduces the concept of ‘global heritage assemblages’ to analyse that problem. Based on extensive anthropological fieldwork, it describes how various governmental, intergovernmental, and non-governmental actors engage with colonial and post-colonial built heritage found in Eritrea, Tanzania, Niger, and the Republic of the Congo. Rausch argues that the global heritage assemblages emerging from those examples produce problematizations of the modern’, which ultimately indicate a contemporary need to rescue modernity from its dominant conception as an all-encompassing, epochal, and spatial culture.

Table of Contents

Part I.

Prologue: A Cult of Heritage

Introduction: World Heritage as Event

1. Global Heritage Assemblages: Towards an Anthropology of the Contemporary

2. Modern Architectural Heritage as an Anthropological Problem

3. A Pathway

4. Global Heritage Assemblages and Modern Architecture in Africa

Part II.

5. Modern Nostalgia: Asserting Politics of Sovereignty and Security in Asmara, Washington and Brussels

6. Modern Trophy: Contesting Technologies of Authenticity and Value in Niamey, Brazzaville, Paris, New York and Venice

7. Many Words for Modern: Negotiating Ethics of Legitimacy and Responsibility in Dar es Salaam, Utrecht, Amsterdam and Accra

8. Ethics of Legitimacy and Responsibility

Part III.

9. Conclusion: Contemporary Politics, Technologies and Ethics to the Rescue of Modernity

About the Author

Christoph Rausch is an assistant professor in the Humanities and Social Sciences at University College Maastricht, the Netherlands

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Culture and Development

There is a burgeoning interest among academics, practitioners and policy-makers in the relationships between ‘culture’ and ‘development’. This embraces the now well-recognized need to adopt culturally-sensitive approaches in development practice, the necessity of understanding the cultural dimensions of development, and more specifically the role of culture for development. Culture, in all its dimensions, is a fundamental component of sustainable development, and throughout the world we are seeing an increasing number of governmental and non-governmental agencies turning to culture as a vehicle for economic growth, for promoting social cohesion, stability and human well-being, and for tackling environmental issues. At the same time, there has been remarkably little critical debate around this relationship, and even less concerned with the interventions of cultural institutions or creative industries in development agendas. The objective of the Routledge Studies in Culture and Development series is to fill this lacuna and provide a forum for reaching across academic, practitioner and policymaker audiences.

The series editors welcome submissions for single- and jointly-authored books and edited collections concerning issues such as: the contribution of museums, heritage and cultural tourism to sustainable development; the politics of cultural diplomacy; cultural pluralism and human rights; traditional systems of environmental management; cultural industries and traditional livelihoods; and culturally-appropriate forms of conflict resolution and post-conflict recovery.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries