Appel à communication / Call for papers : Ideas and Ways of Heritage

Appel à communication / Call for papers  

Ideas and ways of heritage: Scientific thought, praxeology and social knowledge in patrimonialisation

Second Association of Critical Heritage Studies Conference
Australian National University, Canberra
December 2-4, 2014

Scientific committee
Lucie K. Morisset, Professor, Department of Urban Studies and Tourism, UQAM
Luc Noppen, Professor and Holder of the Canada Research Chair on Urban Heritage – ESG,
Martin Drouin, Professor, Department of Urban Studies and Tourism, UQAM

Organizing committee
Lucie K. Morisset, Professor, Department of Urban Studies and Tourism, UQAM
Marie-Blanche Fourcade, Canada Research Chair on Urban Heritage – ESG, UQAM
Jessica Roda, Canada Research Chair on Urban Heritage – ESG, UQAM

This session will explore conceptions used in heritage-making, as they appear or are particularized in the scientific literature, local expertise and the collective intelligence in various regions of the world.


Critical heritage studies have been popularized by way of various disciplines, and several recent studies have emphasized “the infinite specificity of heritage and patrimonialisation”, and at other times, the differentiated paradigms of heritagization, patrimonialisation, heritageification, etc. In the Francophone world at the very least, a growing number of analyses carried out under the banner of post colonialism have also shown, in Algeria, Vietnam and even Indonesia, what some may deem the artificial coexistence of heritage registers, one stemming from “culte chrétien de la trace,” (Christian worship of traces) accommodated mainly to the French institution, and others, more profound, being rooted in time and in cultures that are re-emerging. In fact, the impressive recent expansion of heritage (the word if not the thing itself) and its polymorphous appearance in various settings betrays a growing gap between the denotations and connotations of heritage, on the one hand, and attempts, on the other, to establish normative instruments designed to manage all, or at least some, of its expressions. Moreover, enhanced mobility and the multiplication of cultural contexts have atomized the overreaching national narratives and geographic entities that imposed “traditional” practices and social knowledge systems associated with heritage. Especially in urban settings, this recomposition of universes of identity reference among atomized social groups in relatively restricted neighbouring spaces is reflected in increasingly frequent collisions between contending heritages, a process that not only invalidates the principle of a “ heritage institution” but also, in the absence of channels for sharing or exchange, jeopardizes the very survival of heritage, monument, memory and patrimony.
Although we have absolutely no intention of promoting any given institution or of advocating for its survival, these expressions do, however, form the practical facets of a scientific problem that may be rather theoretical but is nevertheless equally real: How are we to learn about and understand heritage, heritage-making and heritagization, for example, when the cultural contexts in play and the resulting conceptions serve to diversify patrimoine, Erbe, erfgoed, herença, herencia, moștenire, patrimonio, etc., all of which we would prefer to consider on an equal footing?
Without becoming involved in the structuralist versus post-structuralist debate, the underlying argument of this session is that heritage conceptions and knowledge may be differentiated and compared based on the language in which they are expressed and the region of the world in which they emerge. We only have to put into perspective the standard definitions of heritage and patrimoine, normally thought of as direct translations of one another, in order to grasp the scope of the problem: heritage is defined as “something handed down from one’s ancestors or the past, as a characteristic, a culture, a tradition” (Webster’s 2000), whereas the French term patrimoine more clearly refers to a body of property put together at the time being for one’s descendants or the future. Thus nobody should be surprised that such a dichotomy of temporalities (past to present vs. present to future) is expressed in various forms of heritage-making, and we are only re- ferring here to the generic Anglophone and Francophone worlds of dictionaries! We are faced with a dual set of problems, on the one hand touching upon the realm of science, by calling upon a new epistemology based on what we might refer to as the rise of all things “multinational,” and on the other challenging contemporary coexistence by bringing into play the governance of herit- ages and procedures of heritage-making. Simply falling back on the typical distinction between a “French model”, deemed more interventionist, and an “English model”, based more on social participation, will no longer suffice in order to master heritage and heritage-making in the con- temporary world.

Approach and operations
Above and beyond the binary characterization according to which Eastern heritage tends to be intangible as opposed to the tangible heritage of the West, a proposal that may very well be a product of the homogenizing Authorized Heritage Discourse, it would appear that a multitude of heritage conceptions could in fact shed light on one another, provided that they are put into perspective by the various forms of scientific thought, praxeologies, and social knowledge that give them voice, over and above the linguistic particularization induced by territorial networks (Portugal vs. Brazil, Spain vs. Latin America, etc.), which, for example, within the Francophone world, distinguishes patrimoine conceived in France as inseparable from the cultural institution, and patrimoine “made in Quebec”, historically a product of tourism. This session therefore aims to highlight the specific features of heritage conceptions and the worldviews that the latter draw upon, while establishing common ground for a “heritage science” or, at the very least, for critical heritage studies that are enriched by a wide array of perspectives.

Proposals awaited will focus on one of the two themes below.

(1) Specific conceptions of heritage. These papers may decide to highlight, from either a comparatist perspective or in a unilateral manner, the specificity or particularization of heritage development legislation, theories and/or practices. They may also choose to focus, more generally, upon the historical interrelationships between local culture and the emergence of a more particularized representation of heritage. In order to promote a pooling of knowledge, we will be inviting speakers to structure their presentations, to be chosen following the call for papers, according to the “ecology” and the “economics” of heritage-making, that is by answering the following questions, among others: “Who are the actors?” and “What are the means?” in order to better identify “What are the aims?”
(2) Papers also to be chosen following the call for papers, will address the effects of homogenisation, or of its opposite, i.e. a particularization (by refraction) of the global circulation, spurred by institutions with global reach, of heritage conceptions such as cultural intangible heritage. By comparing relationships with time, the other, and space expressed by different praxeologies and social knowledges of heritage, we hope to better identify the terms and conditions by which heritage conceptions can be differentiated.

There are plans for a peer-reviewed publication to be prepared after the session. The publication could, if this proposal is accepted by the editorial committee, be turned into a theme issue of the International Journal of Heritage Studies or, otherwise, into a collective work.

All paper submissions must be made to the ACHS website, before June 1st at :
To identify the session, please explore the conference umbrella themes, click on Theorising cultural heritage studies and choose the session Ideas and ways of heritage: scientific thought, praxeology and social knowledge in patrimonialisation to create your paper proposal. Once this page is complete please click on submit which will register your abstract and will send an automated email to your account as a receipt.

To download the call for papers / pour télécharger l'appel à communication