CFP: State Socialism, Heritage Experts and the Internationalism in Heritage Protection after 1945

University of Exeter, 21-22 November 2017

Histories of heritage usually perceive their object of study as a product of western modernity, and exclude the socialist world. Yet understood as a cultural practice and an instrument of cultural power, and as a “right and a resource”, heritage has played important roles in managing the past and present in many societies and systems. In the postwar period, preservation became a key element of culture in socialist and nonaligned states from China, the Soviet Union, and the Eastern Bloc to Asia, Latin America and Africa. Attention paid to the peoples’ traditions and heritage became a way to manifest the superiority and historical necessity of socialist development. The contribution of socialist states and experts to the development of the idea of heritage is still to be fully excavated, however. The conference aims to understand the rising contributions of socialist and non-aligned actors to the development of heritage at both the domestic and international levels. This phenomenon was in part the result of country-specific factors – such as a reaction to rapid industrial development; the destruction of both the Second World War or wars of national liberation; and the necessity to (re)-invent national traditions on socialist terms. But it was also due the growth of a broader international consensus on international heritage protection policies – in which socialist and nonaligned states and their experts played an important role.

Abstracts of 300-500 words, together with an accompanying short CV should be submitted to: Natalie Taylor ( by June 20, 2017.



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