Volume 91, #4

Fall 2018


World Heritage and the Ontological Turn: New Materialities and the Enactment of Collective Pasts


phone: 202-994-3215  e-mail: ifer@gwu.edu


Volume 91, #4 • Fall 2018



World Heritage and the Ontological Turn: New Materialities and the Enactment of Collective Pasts


Grasping Cacophony in Bolivian Heritage Otherwise

Michelle Bigenho, Colgate University
Henry Stobart, Royal Holloway University of London

ABSTRACT—A “fever” of heritage registration (patrimonialización) is raging at multiple levels of Bolivian society. Under the pro-indigenous government of Evo Morales, many laws have moved specific cultural expressions into legal framings as intangible cultural heritage. In part, this booming interest in heritage may be related to desires to capitalize on cultures, to support cultural rights claims, and/or some combination of these economic and cultural rights explanations. To help account for specific local uptakes of heritage assemblages and for differences between the levels of heritage dispute, however, this article suggests also considering a “heritage otherwise” perspective. Rather than attributing local conflicts over heritage “cradle” declarations entirely to the impact of neoliberalism and UNESCO’s processes, this article explores them in terms of the dynamics of origin politics and a preference for cacophonous modes of musical performance. Such dynamics and “cacophonous relations,” it is argued, are more about reproducing worlds than parceling them into new forms of property.[Keywords:Intangible heritage, ontology, alternative epistemologies, indigeneity, cradle status, cacophonous relations, Bolivia]



On Heritage Ontologies: Rethinking the Material Worlds of Heritage

Rodney Harrison, University College London

ABSTRACT—This piece aims to serve both as a commentary on papers in this special collection as well as a more general observation of recent developments within the emerging interdisciplinary field of critical heritage studies. It explores a series of key theoretical influences which come together, with various emphases, across the collection. This exemplifies a developing strand of research which focuses on material and ontological approaches to heritage. In doing so, this piece aims to consider the implications of these approaches for critical heritage studies more generally.[Keywords: Heritage, critical heritage studies, discourse, materiality, assemblage theory, actor network theory, ontology, worlding practices]