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Book on Cultural Heritage by Michael Falser

Apr 02, 2015

PD Dr. Michael Falser edited the book "Cultural Heritage as Civilizing Mission: From Decay to Recovery". It is part of the Cluster's book series "Transcultural Research - Heidelberg Studies in Asia and Europe in a Global Context".

The book investigates the role of cultural heritage as a constitutive dimension of different civilizing missions from the colonial era to the present. It includes case studies of the Habsburg Empire and German colonialism in Africa, Asian case studies of (post)colonial India and the Dutch East Indies/Indonesia, China and French Indochina, and a special discussion on 20th-century Cambodia and the temples of Angkor.

The themes examined range from architectural and intellectual history to historic preservation and restoration. Taken together, they offer an overview of historical processes spanning two centuries of institutional practices, wherein the concept of cultural heritage was appropriated both by political regimes and for UNESCO World Heritage agendas.

The book "Cultural Heritage as Civilizing Mission: From Decay to Recovery" - 355 pages, with a comprehensive methodological introduction, ten case-studies and a detailed epilogue - was published in March 2015 by the science book publishing company Springer. As a follow-up of a first workshop in 2010, this volume represents the the proceedings of a second international workshop about cultural heritage and the temples of Angkor in Cambodia which took place at the Cluster in 2011 with its original title ""Rebirthing" Angkor? Heritage between Decadence, Decay, Revival and the Mission to Civilize". The first workshop has been published under the title "Archaeologizing' Heritage? Transcultural Entanglements between Local Social Practices and Global Virtual Realities” in 2013. Both workshops were organised by the project coordinator Dr. Michael Falser within the project D12 "Heritage as a Transcultural Concept".

The book is part of the Cluster’s book series "Transcultural Research – Heidelberg Studies on Asia and Europe in a Global Context". The series presents peer-reviewed books by members of the Cluster as well as scholars from both historical and empirical disciplines who are working on new emerging fields that cross existing disciplinary boundaries.

PD Dr. Michael Falser is currently postdoctoral Fellow and coordinator of project D18 "Picturesque Modernities" at the Cluster. Among other publications on various topics about the concept of cultural heritage, he has also published a volume in German on "Kulturerbe und Denkmalpflege transkulturell. Grenzgänge zwischen Theorie und Praxis" with transcript publishing house in 2013, co-edited together with Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja, Chair of Global Art History. In the upcoming summer term of 2015, Michael Falser will be visiting professor at the Institute of Art History in Vienna, with a focus on Asian art in a transcultural/global perspective.


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  • Book Cover "Cultural Heritage as Civilizing Mission"

  • Book Cover "Archaeologizing' Heritage"