8 May | Gravensteen Lecture | Lynn Meskell

Professor Lynn Meskell (Stanford University) will give a lecture on: "UNESCO World Heritage: A New Global Order of Things." Gravensteen, Room 11, 3-5pm. All are welcome.

Date & Time 
8 May 2015

Gravensteen, Room 11
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden

Reception to follow at the Faculty Club Brasserie

UNESCO World Heritage: A New Global Order of Things

UNESCO’s World Heritage program has gained increasing scholarly and public attention in recent years. In its aims and scope World Heritage represent the aspirations of an international community, the limitations of world government, concerns for protection and rights, and notions of the global good. Archaeological and cultural heritage has been at the heart of this mission, and to a lesser degree, natural heritage. In this talk I look specifically at the recent developments and implications of decisions taken by the World Heritage Committee in their implementation of 1972 Convention World Heritage Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. While the World Heritage program is experiencing a fiscal crisis, significant challenges also stem from sovereign states, non-governmental agencies and other actors. I suggest that World Heritage decision-making processes have transformed the inscription of sites into exchange values that mobilize ancillary effects in other domains driven by economic and political imperatives. Archaeologists are critical players in this process and I also suggest that their methods, both qualitative and quantitative, are well suited to the task of analyzing long-term patterns within the World Heritage arena.

Chair: Prof. Peter Pels (Anthroplogy, Leiden)
Discussant: Dr. Amy Strecker (Archaeology, Leiden)

Speaker Bio

Lynn Meskell is Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University's Department of Anthropology and Director of the Stanford Archaeology Center. Lynn's current research and teaching interests include a broad range of fields, including an institutional ethnography of UNESCO, natural and cultural heritage in South Africa,  identity and sociopolitics, and international heritage ethics. Lynn views contemporary archaeology as an anthropology of the past, a contextual and nuanced engagement with ancient culture that mirrors the ethnographic project. Her previous work  has examined conservation, biodiversity and cultural heritage and the related discourses of empowerment around the Kruger National Park, ten years after democracy in South Africa. Another field project is focused on the social constitution of the figurine worlds at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Her new research focuses on the role of UNESCO in terms of heritage rights, sovereignty and international politics. As founding editor of the Journal of Social Archaeology, Lynn has attempted to forge a vehicle for this dialogue, bringing together a wide range of scholars from diverse fields to constitute the editorial panel. She is also a co-founder of the Leiden-Stanford Heritage Network.

Last Modified: 22-04-2015