Heritage Tourism and the Commodification of Culture
BY Prof. Jeffrey Chusid
The process of selecting and then attributing significance to heritage sites is integrally tied to struggles for power and identity within communities and cultures. Designations are even more politically fraught when sites become commodified, serving as representations of history and culture to visitors from outside the community and as mediums of economic development requiring the imposition of external (even global) value systems. In turn, taking advantage of heritage's development potential can not only destroy the 'authentic' character of a site, but also corrupt the culture and the community that produced or maintains the site. This rich and complicated set of meanings and implications provides the context for seemingly neutral activities such as documentation and conservation that are in fact as political and consequential as any act of design.
The Speaker : Jeffrey Chusid is a preservation architect who has worked in the US, China, Bosnia, Ukraine and Fiji on projects ranging from small-town museums to archaeological sites and historic towns. He also teaches in the historic preservation planning program at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Chusid is currently in India completing research for a book on Joseph Allen Stein as well as a chapter on Delhi's planning process and its transformations for the Commonwealth Games. His book on the restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright's Freeman House is currently in production at WW Norton.
On 13 February, 4:00 PM, at arch I camp (150,2nd floor, Kailash Hills. N-Delhi-65)