Sustaining Support for Intangible Cultural Heritage
Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) has recently grown as an analytical construct for documenting and interpreting culture, and as a canonical term to support official concepts of heritage. ICH, while compelling scholars to explore its multiple forms of expressive culture, has become codified through UNESCO, specifically within the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of ICH. This volume explores case studies from Gabon, India, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, and the USA to represent diverse positionalities and voices articulating the complexities, ambiguities and uncertainties within heritage discourses. The chapters illustrate how ICH, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, has become an analytical resource and a proscriptive device for safeguarding, presenting, and interpreting culture to a range of constituents, and will serve as a useful resource in the classroom for a range of fields, as well as for scholars and practitioners.
Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya, FRAS, is Visiting Professor at Ritsumeikan University, Japan, Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge, and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in the School of Advanced Study of the University of London. She is a member of ICOMOS Sri Lanka, and is the author of six books, including The Portuguese in the East: A Cultural History of a Maritime Trading Empire and The African Diaspora in Asian Trade Routes and Cultural Memories.
Mariana Pinto Leitão Pereira is a PhD Candidate at the Cambridge Heritage Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, researching how diaspora communities negotiate identity through cultural heritage. She worked as an archaeologist and heritage expert in Macau, and is a member of ICOMOS Portugal. Her publications include The Macanese Encontros: Remembrance in Diaspora ‘Homecomings’.
Gregory Hansen is Professor of Folklore and English at Arkansas State University, where he also teaches in the Heritage Studies Doctoral Program. He has also worked as a public folklorist for a range of organisations across the USA, and his scholarship focuses on applied cultural work and roots music. His publications include Florida Fiddler: The Life and Times of Richard Seaman.
"This inspiring collection of essays brings together two competing drives in our contemporary world: the drive to safeguard the globe’s almost innumerable intangible cultural heritages (ICH) and the drive to encourage not just development, but sustainable development, all of this considered in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath. The nine contributors consider topics ranging from Bluegrass music to a Gabonese novel, from musical performances by ethnic sub-groups, to women’s ceremonial paintings in Bihar, India. Because the effort to support ICH goes far beyond preservation, several essays emphasize the role of considered change in encouraging local knowledge and skills. The essay by Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya, the chief organizer of the collection and of the conference that preceded the book, emphasizes, for example, the complexities entailed in safeguarding the Afro-Sri Lankan heritage of manja and mentions the risks of commodification that would seem the obvious solution. The essay by Chapane Mutiua, as another example, traces the importance of certain northern Mozambiquan indigenous practices in respecting and preserving fragile natural environments but also examines their clash with political and religious forces that dominate elsewhere in the country. At a time of sometimes rampant change, this thoughtful collection provides models of ICH resiliency and hope as well as fragility and hazard."
Ruth Dawson, Professor Emerita, University of Hawaii
Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya
Bilinda D Nandadeva
Mariana Pinto Leitão Pereira
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