Contesting and Documenting Heritage: Practices and Policies

Course Description: 

The course offers an overview on the wide range of social practices for managing information, data and knowledge. It intends to concentrate on crossover issues with regard to historical records and proofs, heritage management, and knowledge-production in our societies offering a critical appraisal of the uses of digital media by cultural heritage institutions.  The relationship between material and digital objects are interrogated in order to map possibilities for a “virtual cultural heritage.” The course also deals with conceptual and theoretical questions of storage, curation and classification together with policy implications through the persistent presentation of case studies. Historical examples, professional practices and policies offer laboratory-type case-studies in relation to topics of the schedule.  This course also aims to introduce those intersections/buffers or grey zones situated in between the traditionally known heritage institutions such as the library, archive and museum.

Learning Outcomes: 

The course develops a reflective understanding of the histories of traditional heritage institutions – museums, archives, and libraries – and provides familiarity with historical perspectives, professional practices and policies. It also offers insights into contemporary practices and policies of documenting individual and collective data using experiences and perspectives of the librarian, the archivist and the historian, and examples of the latest approaches and technologies.

  • Critical introduction to a chosen reading in a maximum 5-minute presentation: the introduction should not be a content summary, but rather a short evaluation by highlighting the key questions and arguments of the reading. You are requested to select the text on the first class from the literature of Block 2-6;
  • Playing an opponent who offers a different perspective of the selected reading in max. 5 minutes. Mandatory readings are presented by two persons, please coordinate your work with the person who presents his/her introduction.
  • Essay
    Milestone 1: a one-page summary of the proposed topic from your own national cultural heritage management (policies, practices) or from international policy making, its local implementation, possibly connected to your own research agenda,  by October 2, 2017.
    Milestone 2: a 10-minute presentation about the research after consultation with the professors by November 17, 2017. Your presentation should include the essay outline, its main goals and argumentation, and the source materials (secondary and primary).
    Delivarable: You are kindly requested to submit the final text by December 31, 2017, the latest. Any eventual delay (without prior notification to the instructors) could modify your final grade.

The final grade will be the combination of the reading interpretation (20%), class activity (30%), and the seminar essay (10%+10%+30%).