World Heritage and Conflict


Course Objective

• In this introductory course students acquire knowledge and
understanding of the theoretical foundations of the field of heritage
studies and are introduced to the main (inter)national political and
public debates surrounding heritage practices, with a special focus on
• Students acquire basic knowledge of site-specific inter(national)
heritage policy in its historic and cultural context;
• Through the analysis of Heritage Sites, students gain
insight in processes of site-specific research, canonisation,
musealisation, and possible sources of conflict concerning world
heritage status;
• On the basis of their newly acquired knowledge, students are able to
compare and reflect critically upon individual case studies in their
final paper;
• Students develop skills in both textual and visual analysis and
presentation techniques.

Course Content

In this course students are made familiar with the (inter)national
political framework that shapes our contemporary interaction with and
debates on cultural heritage. The meaning of the concept of heritage has
radically changed throughout the years, it has grown from ‘monument’ to
the slightly larger concept of ‘site’, to ‘setting’, areas and cities
and finally to landscape. But today, heritage can also refer to
immaterial culture: practices, stories, theatre, etcetera. In this
course however, we will talk about a very specific category of heritage:
UNESCO World Heritage. What makes the concept of World Heritage
exceptional is its universal application? UNESCO claims that World
Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of
the territory on which they are located. During this course we will
focus on the way in which UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification,
protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the
world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. By discussing
critically recent academic, political and public debates on individual
World Heritage Sites that somehow have become sites of conflict, you
will reflect upon what is called the ‘heritage paradox’ - the constant
tension between processes of signification, appropriation and sharing,
the management of future changes and the urge to protect the relics of
the past. Three aspects of world
heritage will be central in this course:
• Outstanding Universal Value(OUV) and the supranational character of
world heritage
• Experience and enjoyment of world heritage: tourism
• World heritage under threat: conflict

Teaching Methods

Lectures and guest lectures, seminars, excursions.

Method of Assessment

Participation & weekly assignments (10%);
poster presentation & discussion (20%); final paper (70%).

Entry Requirements

This course is mandatory for bachelor students MKDA (Media, Art, Design
and Architecture).
This course is an elective in the theme 'Heritage and Memory' for
Bachelor students in History.
For international exchange students a basic knowledge of (art) history
is required (on level 200-300).


Marie-Theres Albert and Birgitta Ringbeck, 40 Years World Heritage
Convention. Popularizing the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage
De Gruyter 2015 (DOI (Book):
Other course literature to be announced.

Target Audience

BA2 History students, BA2 and BA3 MKDA students, International
humanities students, level 200-300.

General Information

Course Code L_AABAGES207
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. L.R. Egberts
Examiner dr. L.R. Egberts
Teaching Staff dr. L.R. Egberts
prof. dr. G.L.M. Burgers

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: