Issue 5: Heritage and Memory

Written by Editor

This issue explores heritage and memory. We asked our contributors to reflect on the many discourses and practices of heritage and memory in contemporary China, and their complex relationships with the politics of cultural identity. Pieces in this issue explore various aspects of this topic, including local participation and perspectives on cultural heritage, institutional frameworks and their implementation, and the place of memory within urban regeneration projects.

Our opening piece, written by Harriet Evans explores the ways in which local communities approach the issue of what to preserve and how local people’s memories of their past cultural experiences inform local projects of cultural preservation.

In the second piece, Philipp Demgenski takes a look at intangible cultural heritage practices, with a particular focus on how the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is implemented in China.

Our third piece, written by Sabina Cioboata, reflects on heritage-led urban regeneration. She examines the transition from large-scale, landmark redevelopment projects to smaller, more community-based approaches.

Our fourth piece engages the same topic but with a slightly different focus. Mengran Zhu explores the place of urban memory within urban regeneration projects in city centres across China.

In our fifth piece, written by Paul Kendall, takes a look at the unexpected emergence and rapid decline of a park created to commemorate the Third Front in Kaili, a small city in Guizhou. Kendall examines the Kaili brand’s omission of the city’s Third Front legacy within the context of recent efforts by other cities in the southwest to rebrand former Third Front factories as cultural heritage.

In our sixth piece, Sonja Laukkanen explores the ways in which heritage is connected with discourses of development, harmonious society and ecological state. Focusing on Tibetan landscapes, Laukkanen discusses how this convergence of discourses produce certain landscapes for tourist consumption.

Our final piece comes from Lisheng Zhang and offers some reflections on the Jianchuan Museum Cluster, China’s largest non-state museum. Lisheng examines the ways in which the museum speaks to the moral and political complexities in remembering and collecting as well as the museum and heritage industry itself in China today. 


Image credit: University of Westminster’s China Visual Arts Project Archive

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Interdisciplinary research about contemporary China from a cultural studies perspective
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