Open Access (free)
World Heritage and modernity
Author: Jes Wienberg

Heritopia explores the multiple meanings of the past in the present, using the famous temples of Abu Simbel and other World Heritage sites as points of departure. It employs three perspectives in its attempt to understand and explain both past and present the truth of knowledge, the beauties of narrative, and ethical demands. Crisis theories are rejected as nostalgic expressions of contemporary social criticism. Modernity is viewed as a collection of contradictory narratives and reinterpreted as a combination of technological progress and recently evolved ideas. The book argues that while heritage is expanding, it is not to be found everywhere, and its expansion does not constitute a problem. It investigates the World Heritage Convention as an innovation, demonstrating that the definition of a World Heritage site succeeds in creating a tenable category of outstanding and exclusive heritage. The book introduces the term “Heritopia” in order to conceptualise the utopian expectations associated with World Heritage. Finally, it points to the possibilities of using the past creatively when meeting present-day and future challenges.

Open Access (free)
Jes Wienberg

accelerates. Time means steps forward or backward, rise or fall. The Past is a Foreign Country by David Lowenthal had a broad impact with its anthropological look at the past. As the title suggests, and as the content of the book confirms, the idea is that the present has been alienated from the past. The past has become different, remote, and exotic – a “foreign country” (Lowenthal 1985 : xvi, 406; 2015:3f, 8ff, 358ff). Lowenthal’s title was taken from the author L. P. Hartley’s novel The Go-Between, whose opening sentence is, “The past is a foreign country: they

in Heritopia
Open Access (free)
Jes Wienberg

recognise the three timescales of the French Annales school – the event, the conjuncture, and the long-term structure. The field can display sharp contrasts between the rhetorical slogans for or against protection and preservation – via the critical analyses of how the past has been or may, should, or will be used – to categorical statements to the effect that history, memory, and heritage are expressions of a society that is either rising or decaying. The Past is a Foreign Country (1985), by the historian and geographer David Lowenthal, became a classic soon after

in Heritopia
Open Access (free)
Jes Wienberg

Heritage is everywhere David Lowenthal’s classic The Past is a Foreign Country opens with the sentence “The past is everywhere”, and he used exactly the same words three decades later when he revisited that country (Lowenthal 1985 : xv; 2015: 1). The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History begins in much the same way, but here the past has been limited to heritage: “ALL AT ONCE HERITAGE IS EVERYWHERE – in the news, in the movies, in the marketplace – in everything from galaxies to genes” (Lowenthal 1997 : ix). The phrase “Heritage everywhere” is

in Heritopia
Open Access (free)
New retro movies in 1990s Hollywood cinema
Philip Drake

make clear, a distinguishing feature of memory approaches to history is their concern with the process of memory on historical knowledge, in particular the contingency of the historically remembered past. Thus what we call the past is accessible only through private and publicly articulated memories, narrated through the perspective of the present. David Lowenthal has termed this memorial knowledge , knowledge of

in Memory and popular film
Open Access (free)
Jes Wienberg

; Diaz-Andreu 2007 ). David Lowenthal’s works – The Past is a Foreign Country (1985; 2015) and The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History (1997) – must be included as an important part of this wave of criticism. The criticism recapitulated above led to the establishment of both (critical) use of history and critical heritage as academic fields for research and teaching, from the 1990s onwards with their own conferences, journals, series, textbooks, networks, centres, and education programmes (e.g. International Journal of Heritage Studies 1994ff; cf

in Heritopia
Jes Wienberg

, campaigns, and centres – and they even do so across the two cultures of heritage (e.g. Tunbridge & Ashworth 1996 ; Weissglas et al. 2002 ; Holtorf 2005 : 130ff; Liliequist 2005 ). The opposite view is also abundantly represented – that heritage is a liability, a problem and an obstacle, or, in short, that heritage is of no value. This criticism was given its most forceful expression by David Lowenthal in the 1990s, with derogatory words about heritage such as oppressive, defeatist, decadent, hyped, nostalgic, alarming, causes chaos, rubbish, sacred cow, corrupted

in Heritopia