Course Description: The definitions, efforts and efficacies of heritage conservation are inherent to and shaped by the social, political and economic cultures of a place. In many societies outside the Western world, the strategies that underlie the success of heritage conservation efforts are therefore significantly different than those typically pursued in Europe and the United States. Extreme economic disparities, ethnic and religious diversity and ad hoc, illegal possession and appropriation of historic sites surface the need for bottom-up instead of top-down strategies, self-help mechanisms and populist grassroots efforts as methods and tools. Additionally, the multi-generational presence of unconventional habitat types such as squatters, slums, urban villages and refugee camps, also raise complex questions on what constitutes heritage and how and why we need to conserve them.
The course will introduce students to the issues and challenges surrounding the idea of heritage conservation beyond the Euro-American world. It will specifically aim at provoking discussions on the nexus of heritage conservation, socio-economic inclusiveness and social justice by focusing on selected case studies that highlight the dilemmas of these other worlds.