Museums, Heritage and International Development: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Museums, Heritage and International Development

1st Edition

Edited by Paul Basu, Wayne Modest


346 pages | 25 B/W Illus.

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While many claims are made regarding the power of cultural heritage as a driver and enabler of sustainable development, the relationship between museums, heritage and development has received little academic scrutiny. This book stages a critical conversation between the interdisciplinary fields of museum studies, heritage studies and development studies to explore this under-researched sphere of development intervention. In an agenda-setting introduction, the editors explore the seemingly oppositional temporalities and values represented by these "past-making" and "future-making" projects, arguing that these provide a framework for mutual critique. Contributors to the volume bring insights from a wide range of academic and practitioner perspectives on a series of international case studies, which each raise challenging questions that reach beyond merely cultural concerns and fully engage with both the legacies of colonial power inequalities and the shifting geopolitical dynamics of contemporary international relations. Cultural heritage embodies different values and can be instrumentalized to serve different economic, social and political objectives within development contexts, but the past is also intrinsic to the present and is foundational to people’s aspirations for the future. Museums, Heritage and International Development explores the problematics as well as potentials, the politics as well as possibilities, in this fascinating nexus.

Table of Contents

1. Museums, Heritage and International Development: A Critical Conversation Paul Basu and Wayne Modest 2. UNESCO, Museums and ‘Development’ Yudhishthir Raj Isar 3. Complicating Culture for Development: Negotiating ‘Dysfunctional Heritage’ in Sierra Leone Paul Basu and Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp 4. Art for Life: Intangible Cultural Heritage and Livelihood Development in India Amitava Bhattacharya 5. US Cultural Diplomacy, Cultural Heritage Preservation and Development at the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul William C. S. Remsen and Laura A. Tedesco 6. Reconstructing Afghan Identity: Nation-building, International Relations and the Safeguarding of Afghanistan’s Buddhist Heritage Constance Wyndham 7. Has It Been Worth It?: Personal Reflections on Museum Development in Ghana Malcolm McLeod 8. Development Challenges and Shared Heritage-Making Processes in Southwest Ghana Matteo Aria, Mariaclaudia Cristofano and Stefano Maltese 9. Museum Kapuas Raya: The In-between Museum Itie van Hout 10. ‘Only Foreigners Can Do It?’: Technical Assistance, Advocacy and Brokerage at Aksum, Ethiopia Bianca Maria Nardella and Michael Mallinson 11. Health Education and Participatory Exhibition Development in Malawi Ruth McKew 12. Hintang and the Double-bind Promise of Development Anna Källén 13. Cultural Heritage, Humanitarianism and Development: Critical Links Christina Kreps 14. Reconceptualizing Heritage in China: Museums, Development and the Shifting Dynamics of Power Harriet Evans and Michael Rowlands 15. Postconflict Heritage in Asia: Shifting Geographies of Aid Tim Winter 16. Visualizing Development: The Tropenmuseum and International Development Aid David Hildering, Wayne Modest and Warda Aztouti

About the Editors

Paul Basu is Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at SOAS University of London.

Wayne Modest is the head of the Research Centre for Material Culture at the National Museum of World Cultures in 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.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Museum Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries