The University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Heritage & Society is pleased to announce its Third Annual International Heritage Conference
THE PAST FOR SALE? The economic entanglements of cultural heritage
May 15-17, 2013
UMass Amherst Campus, Amherst, MA USA
15 February 2013
The economic valuation of cultural heritage—whether protected and developed or illegally looted and exported—is among the most pressing practical research questions in the fields of both Cultural Heritage Studies and Community Development. What price in dollars or social value does heritage have in the 21st century? How is heritage marketed and sold in an era of rampant globalization and neoliberalism?
On the one hand, nations, regions, cities, and even small towns are investing significant public funds in the development and public presentation of archaeological sites, historic monuments, and historic districts in the hope of economic revitalization through tourism or increased property values. On the other, unprecedented diplomatic and legal measures are being taken to repatriate looted cultural property and put an end to the enormously profitable antiquities trade. What is happening on the ground? What types of heritage are being marketed, returned, or sold, and for what purposes? Who stands to gain from these processes?
Major Themes and Suggested Topics
The goal of this conference is to bring together a wide range of academics, economists, heritage professionals, development experts, government officials, and community leaders to examine the economic impacts of cultural heritage and its implications for contemporary society. Yet rather than seeing heritage-based tourism, urban
redevelopment, and antiquities looting as distinct economic instances involving monetary profits or losses, we hope to encourage a trans-disciplinary discussion of the overlapping economic entanglements of cultural heritage and the broader social implications.
Themes to be explored in this conference will include:
Tourism: How has the need to market cultural heritage shaped communities, landscapes, and historic centers? Do common methods for drawing tourists (seeking UNESCO World Heritage status, creating destinations, building new museums, etc.) actually increase tourism? What kinds of social or economic costs does tourism give rise to, and who or what bears the burden of these costs?
Urban Revitalization: How does the promise of heritage tourism revenues lead to new ways of marketing or packaging the city? What types of (mega)projects does heritage tourism give rise to? Does it lead to ‘economic revitalization’? Who ultimately profits? And what impacts does it have on the fabric of the city?
Archaeological Looting, the Antiquities Market, and its Costs: What does looting tell us about the needs of the communities who live on and near archaeological sites? What is the larger socio-economic context of looting in the global antiquities market? Who benefits from the movement of archaeological material from field to lab to museum?
Specific topics under these themes may include:
The role of heritage in economic development
Negotiating the relationship between outsiders and stakeholders in economic development projects
Assessing the value of intangible cultural heritage
The complexities of repatriating museum artifacts
The impacts of tourism on historic sites and landscapes
Changes brought about through the revitalization of urban centers
The Disneyification of heritage sites: the balancing of profit, entertainment, and education
The unique challenges of heritage management in developing countries
The issues surrounding archaeological looting and/or the antiquities market
Abstract submission has been extended to February 15, 2013. Selected papers will be published in Heritage & Society, a peer-reviewed journal, whose editorship has been assumed by the UMass Amherst Center
for Heritage and Society.
GJ Ashworth, Emeritus Professor of Heritage Management and Urban Tourism at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences of the University of Groningen, and Visiting Professor at University of Brighton (UK) Tourism and Research Group and NHTV Breda (Netherlands)
Françoise Benhamou, Professor of Economics at Sciences Po-Paris, President of the Association for Cultural Economics International (ACEI), and Commissioner of the ARCEP
Neil Brodie, Senior Research Fellow, Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, University of Glasgow
J.P. Singh Professor of Global Affairs and Cultural Studies at George Mason University
Submission of Abstracts
Abstracts for poster presentations, research papers (20 minutes), demonstrations, workshops, roundtables, and organized sessions or symposia on the conference themes will be accepted until February 15, 2013. They should be a maximum of 300 words in English with a maximum of one illustration or screenshot. Note to session organizers: if you are proposing a session or symposia, you are responsible for submitting each paper abstract (or discussant slot) individually and repeating the session information on each form verbatim.
Please submit abstracts online at:
Notification of acceptance will be sent in March.
For questions or requests for additional information, please contact Grace Cleary (email@example.com). Details for registration and accommodations will be announced soon. We hope you will find this conference to be of interest and look forward to seeing you in Amherst next May!