Forthcoming events

13:36 by Cornelius Holtorf
Material Mediation: Heritage Politics Across Rwanda’s Borders
Stockholm University – Critical Heritage Studies Network
November 21, 2019, 3-5 PM, with discussant Elisabeth Niklasson
Since the genocide in 1994, Rwanda’s government has focused on building a new nation with a new, stronger position in the international arena. In part, this has involved the strategic use of cultural and genocide heritage to transform the nation, such that the government mobilizes heritage within a number of sociopolitical projects. These projects operate simultaneously in domestic and international spheres, drawing on local and global forces to shape the construction of heritage.
This talk discusses how heritage’s materiality both manifests and challenges ideas about development and progress in the creation of the “New Rwanda” by tracing conservation work at two parallel—but very different—genocide memorials. The dynamics at these memorials demonstrate how globally-circulating discourses about material heritage are transformed by domestic politics. However, I further argue that for Rwanda, heritage politics do not stop at international borders. I introduce the government’s attempts to transform international relations through heritage negotiations, with attention to recently-launched efforts to repatriate items from collections held in German museums. Collectively, these cases indicate the potential of heritage to materialize and mediate larger sociopolitical processes both within and between nations.
Cornelius Holtorf
In 2017, Linnaeus University in Kalmar, Sweden, was awarded a UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures. This is one of eight Chairs in Sweden, and the only one within the cultural sector. Cornelius Holtorf, holder of the UNESCO Chair, alongside Anders Högberg and Sarah May, will continue to generate ideas through this forum.

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