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"Rebirthing" Angkor?

Heritage between Decadence, Decay, Revival

and the Mission to Civilize

2nd International Workshop about Heritage

8-10 May 2011
Heidelberg, Germany

Organized by Dr. Michael Falser, Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" (Chair of Global Art History, Prof. Monica Juneja)

General description

"Help Save Angkor", back cover of the journal "Khmer Republic", 1971

The colonial “civilizing mission” drew upon a certain reservoir of ideological topoi: prominent among these was the stereotype of a colonised culture marked by political crises or cultural decadence and lacking in the competence to conserve its heritage from a falling into decay. In Asia the European mission to civilize addressed a situation that was different both from that within modern Europe where colonized states were held to have attained a level of cultural achievements comparable to those of the colonising power, as well as from the context of African states, where the ‘state of primitivism’ ascribed to the colonies was accompanied by the imposition of cultural hegemony by  the colonizer. In regions of Asia, on the other hand European powers were confronted with highly advanced civilizations possessing a long history of cultural accomplishments. This workshop analyzed different forms of "civilizing missions", with  special focus on Cambodia and the temples of Angkor.

Approaches and sections of the workshop

In Asia, the mission to civilize meant restoring and recovering from oblivion an ancient and unique architectural heritage, which now had to be saved from extinction. The general East-West formations of the mission to civilize will be the subject of the deliberations during the first part of the workshop, comprising case studies of inner-European formations, of British-India, the Dutch-Indies and French-Indochina.

The second section of  the workshop focused on the specific case of Cambodia whose recent history has unfolded through a quick and dramatic succession of political developments – the French Protectorate (1863-1953) followed by  independence (1954-1970), twenty years of civil war, Khmer Rouge genocide and Vietnamese occupation (1970-1989), and finally 'national rebirth' under the international mandate of the United Nations. Here the question of continuity was addressed: in what ways did colonial cultural ideology – the ostensibly contrasting political ideologies of different regimes notwithstanding – shape the practice of conserving heritage through policies that involved modification, total negation or re-invention. In this context the phenomenon of inner-Asian migration of ideologies have also been discussed: how did the Russian or the Maoist-Chinese Cultural Revolutions, along with anticolonial traditions from Europe, influence the Khmer Rouge’s policy of genocidal re-purification that also affectedcultural heritage?

The third section of the workshop dealt with the “Archaeological Park of Angkor”: this complex, constituted as a limited protection zone under French colonial power, was reinscribed in a modified form as this complex was declared a World Heritage site of the UNESCO in1993. The workshop discussed here evolving heritage formations as they were articulated through the tensions between the local administrative management of the ‘cultural reserve’ of Angkor, the strivings of the local population to ‘re-traditionalize’ the site, and prevailing religious (Buddhist and vernacular) practices which conceptualize transcience and rebirth from the perspective of very different traditions.

Reconfirmed participants (in alphabetical order)

Gabrielle Abbe (Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne)

Marieke Bloembergen (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies)

Penny Edwards (Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies, University of Berkeley, California)

Martin Eickhoff (Netherlands Institute for War Documentation)

Michael Falser (Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context", Heidelberg University)

Claude Jacques (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris)

Monica Juneja (Chair of Global Art History and Speaker of Research Area D "Historicities and Heritage", Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context", Heidelberg University)

Khun-Neay KHUON (Deputy Director General, APSARA Authority, Siem Reap, Cambodia)

Henri Locard (Royal University of Phnom Penh)

Pierre-Yves Manguin (Ecole Française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO), Paris)

Stefan Maul (Assyrology, Heidelberg University)

Krishna Menon (Convenor, INTACH New Delhi Chapter, India)

Keiko Miura (School of Letters, Arts and Science; Waseda University, Tokyo)

Juliane Noth (Institute of East Asian Art History, Heidelberg University)

Winfried Speitkamp (Institute of Social Sciences, Kassel University)       

Werner Telesko (Institute of Art History, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna)

Ashley Thompson (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds)

Rudolf Wagner (Institute of Chinese Studies, Heidelberg University, Co-Director of the Cluster "Asia and Europe in a Global Context"

PROGRAM

 

SUNDAY, 8 May 2011

17.00  

WELCOME BY THE ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE CLUSTER OF EXCELLENCE "ASIA AND EUROPE IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT"
Rudolf Wagner (EXC Asia and Europe and Institute of Chinese Studies, Heidelberg University)

WELCOME BY THE HOSTING INSTITUTE
Monica Juneja (EXC Asia and Europe, Chair of Global Art History, Heidelberg University)

WELCOME BY THE ORGANISER/INTRODUCTION TO THE WORKSHOP 
Michael Falser (EXC Asia and Europe, Global Art History, Heidelberg University)

17.45–19.00 KEYNOTE

Ashley Thompson (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds)
(Re)Constructing Angkor

19.00  DINNER BUFFET

MONDAY, 9 May 2011

 

PANEL I: MISSIONS TO CIVILIZE: EUROPE AND OTHER CONTINENTS

Chair: Stefan Maul (Assyrology, Heidelberg University)

9.00-10.30 “German-speaking” missions to civilize

Werner Telesko (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Art History, Vienna)
Colonialism without colonies: the civilizing mission in the Habsburg Empire

Winfried Speitkamp (Institute of Social Sciences, Kassel)
German colonialism and the formation of African heritage

10.30–11.00 COFFEE

11.00–12.30 Heritage formations in British-India

Monica Juneja (EXC Asia and Europe, Chair of Global Art History, Heidelberg University)The interstices of 'civilization' and 'despotism' - the uses of knowledge about India's architectural past during early colonialism

Krishna Menon, INTACH INDIA, New Delhi)
Mission to civilize: colonial initiatives to conserve Indian antiquities

12.30–13.30 LUNCH
 
PANEL II: COLONIAL MISSIONS FOR SOUTH-EAST ASIA

Chair: Monica Juneja (Chair of Global Art History, Heidelberg University)

13.30–15.00 The Dutch-Indies and Indochina

Marieke Bloembergen (Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies)
Martijn Eickhoff (Netherlands Institute for War Documentation)
Save Borobudur! The moral dynamics of archaeology and heritage formation in Indonesia across orders and borders, 1930s-ca. 1990

Pierre-Yves Manguin (Ecole Française d'Extrême-Orient, Paris)
The ambiguous mission of the Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO)
- an academic institution in a colonial environment

15.00–15.30 COFFEE

15.30–17.00  French-Cambodia and Cambodian Independence

Gabrielle Abbe (Université Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne)
“Decadence” and revival in Cambodian arts: the work of George Groslier (1887-1945)

Penny Edwards (Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies, Berkeley University)
Antiquarian nationalism: Angkor in postcolonial politics (1950-70s)

18.00  CITY WALK AND DINNER

TUESDAY, 10 May 2011

PANEL III: MIGRATING CIVILIZING MISSIONS AND THE HERITAGE OF ANGKOR

Chair: Rudolf Wagner (Acting Director of the Cluster of Excellence, Institute of Chinese Studies, Heidelberg University)

09.00 – 10.30 Maoism and Communism: heritage ideologies from China into Cambodia

Juliane Noth (Institute of East Asian Art History, Heidelberg University)
The achievements of archaeology and the revolutionary line of Chairman Mao – reading „Cultural Relics Excavated During the Great Cultural Revolution“ of 1972

Henri Locard (Department of History, Royal University of Phnom Penh)
The meaning of the heritage of Angkor in the Khmer Rouge utopia

10.30 – 11.00 COFFEE

11.00 – 12.30 From Vietnamese occupation to international aid: Cambodia 1975-1995

Michael Falser (EXC Asia and Europe, Global Art History, Heidelberg University)
Representing heritage without territory: the Khmer Rouge at the UNESCO in Paris during the 1980s

Claude Jacques (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris)
UNESCO's mission to safeguard Angkor in the early 1990s

12.30–13.30 LUNCH

13.30–15.00 Traditionalizing heritage or preserving traditions? The Angkor Park today

Khun-Neay KHUON (Deputy Director General, APSARA Authority, Siem Reap)
Land use, housing and living in the UNESCO World Heritage Archaeological Park of Angkor. The vision of the APSARA authority

Keiko Miura (School of Letters, Arts and Science;  Waseda University, Tokyo)
Discourses and practices between tradition and world heritage-making in Angkor

15.00–15.30 COFFEE

15.30–17.00 Concluding Discussion

19.00  DINNER

Description and programme

The description of the workshop can be downloaded here (PDF).

The programme of the workshop can be downloaded here (PDF).

The flyer of the workshop can be downloaded here (PDF).

The poster of the workshop can be downloaded here (PDF).

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