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Heritage and its Afterlives: Feeling the Past in an Australian National Park
Studium Generale: Bedeutung, Wirkung und Schutz von Kulturellem Erbe

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This presentation starts from the premise that heritage encompasses not only things – museums, monuments, objects, landscapes, battlefields, sites and places – but the feelings of affinity we might have with them – the empathy and connection –, as well as their counterparts; alienation, boredom, anger and rejection.

Prof. Waterton will focus on an Australian heritage place used by visitors to understand their own position within the larger collective identity of ‘the nation’: Kakadu National Park. National heritage sites are regularly understood to be key social spaces within which people construct and negotiate identities; Kakadu National Park easily qualifies as such, having found its way onto both Australia’s National Heritage List in 2007 and the World Heritage List in 1981. It is thus a useful site through which to examine both comfortable and challenging notions of national belonging and identity, including how they are mediated and ultimately accepted or resisted. To make my case, Prof. Waterton will draw from a combination of structured visitor interviews carried out onsite at two of the main rock art galleries within Kakadu National Park – Ubirr and Nanguluwurr – and in-depth, semi-structured interviews undertaken with a selection of visitors some months after their initial visit. These conversations often centred upon understandings of Kakadu as a place of Australian heritage, and identified which particular messages contained within the Park are used to negotiate identities and shape a person’s conduct towards others.


Prof. Emma Waterton is Professor in the Geographies of Heritage at Western Sydney University. Her research interests in the field of heritage studies have developed across four key areas: (1) unpacking the complex set of relations that constitute the discourse of heritage and its erasures; (2) understanding heritage encounters via the application of affect theory; (3) pioneering experimental approaches for data capture; and (4) critically exploring the intersections between heritage and practices of social governance, particularly with regard to social inclusion and community engagement. She is author or editor of twenty-three books, including Heritage, Communities and Archaeology (co-authored with Laurajane Smith; 2009), Politics, Policy and the Discourses of Heritage in Britain (sole-authored; 2010), The Semiotics of Heritage Tourism (co-authored with Steve Watson; 2014) and Geographies of Commemoration in a Digital World – Anzac @ 100 (co-authored with Danielle Drozdzewski and Shanti Sumartojo, 2021). She is the current Editor-in-Chief for the journal Landscape Research.

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Kurstermine 1

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    Ort / Raum
  • 1 Montag, 28. Juni 2021, 18:00 – 19:30 Uhr Hochschule Aalen, Beethovenstraße 1