For anyone working on heritage, a poster session is being proposed for the AAA meeting in Chicago this November. Please let me know of your interest in the session by April 1 (email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>); I would like abstracts by April 8. Everything must be submitted to the AAA portal by April 15.
*Engagements with Past, Present and Future through Cultural Heritage*
Cultural heritage projects are an active site for reinscribing, revising, and inventing stories about past, present, and future. The posters in this session explore the various ways in which temporality is engaged—how the past is used in the service of present and future interests, or conversely how the present (and future) is shaped by constructions of the past. They also consider how heritage can reproduce other temporal patterns, such as seasonal or annual cycles. Heritage can include cultural property such as historical sites, monuments, and cultural artifacts, as well as cultural practices such as rituals or everyday habits. Often cultural property and cultural practices overlap, as when national commemorations occur at historical sites or harvest festivals celebrate local food.
Cultural heritage can serve as sites of consumption, spectacle, belonging, and resistance. Temporal associations can be deployed for a variety of purposes, ranging from materializing a polity, asserting ethnicity, or celebrating diversity. Heritage sites can inscribe power hierarchies into
the past and thus legitimate contemporary power holders. They can lend legitimacy to imagined communities through commemorative practices. These processes can also be reversed, as when heritage is used in the service of protest movements. Alternatively, heritage can celebrate cultural diversity by promoting past and future connections across borders and between ethnicities. Heritage can also promote economic interests by revitalizing traditional practices of artisanship or agricultural production, and encouraging the consumption of history and culture by heritage tourists.
Anthropological theory and methods have relevance for public policy surrounding cultural heritage projects, and can be deployed to parse symbolic meanings, chart power dynamics, and trace personal engagement with public spaces and discourses. Anthropologists might even be involved in policy decisions, and their materials can be used in heritage projects, as when anthropological data is displayed in museums or referenced to reconstruct traditional practices. Ethnographic evidence can also be central to policy debates about preservation and disputes about the narrative that will be told about cultural and historic property.
Posters are displayed for 1 hr 45 minutes, allowing presenters to talk about their projects one on one with interested viewers. Here are some useful guidelines for creating posters: