Historiography of Cultural Heritage

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Course Open to: 
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Course Description: 

The course offers an introduction to the origins and the development of the concept of cultural heritage in the framework of European cultural and political history. It scrutinizes the emergence of patrimoine, related to the French revolution and to its aftermath. In a subsequent phase, the seminar analyzes the role of heritage in the European nation making processes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, revealing the link of nation and nationalism studies to the scholarship of heritage. Furthermore, the seminar focuses on the contemporary varieties of heritage making. It explains the political and social reasons behind the recent expansion of heritage as a key concept and a flexible set of techniques of constructing and representing collective identities in the postmodern era. Case studies taken from the Central European region illustrate how heritage and memory became powerful alternatives of professional historical writing in the representation of the past.

Learning Outcomes: 

Students acquire a substantial overview of the bibliographical resources of the scholarship concerning the concept of heritage. The course allows them to recognize the historical dimension behind the contemporary practices of heritage making. It provides students with a critical attitude which encourages them to avoid merely descriptive or simplified accounts of contemporary heritage projects.


Assessment is based on two tasks to be carried out by students during the semester: 1) they will present a small-scale individual research, related to the topics appearing in the seminar; 2) they will apply the problems analyzed during the seminar to their own thesis work, presenting their results both in oral and in written form (term paper).