Heritage as Aid and Diplomacy in Asia

Heritage as Aid and Diplomacy in Asia
Date of publication:  2020
Publisher:  ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute; International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS); and Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica
Number of pages:  347
Code:  PIC275
Soft Cover
ISBN: 9789814881159
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Stephen Hoadley, New Zealand International Review, 2020.

"This book adds to the growing challenge that 'low politics' is posing to the traditional predominance of 'high politics.'

Whether or not one subscribes to the revisionist, post-colonial and de-constructivist schools of heritage diplomacy that inspire this collection, one will find current and useful information about not only Preah Vihear and Angkor but also about the Bamiyan Buddhist statues, Kunqu opera and heritage sites or issues in Indonesia, Japan, China, North and South Korea and elsewhere in Asia. The politics, pressures and distortions induced by UNESCO and other international heritage institutions and affiliated 'experts' animate the case studies. 

Each essay is informative, clearly presented and understandable by lay readers but also conceptually sophisticated and thoroughly documented for scholarly readers. Each offers international and domestic political insights to which neoclassical realists such as this reviewer can readily relate."

About the publication

Drawing from eleven rich case studies in Asia, this book is the first to explore how heritage is used as aid and diplomacy by various agencies to produce knowledge, power, values and geopolitics in the global heritage regime. It represents an interdisciplinary endeavour to feature a diversity of situations where cultural heritage is invoked or promoted to serve interests or visions that supposedly transcend local or national paradigms. This collection of articles thus not only considers processes of “UNESCO-ization” of heritage (or their equivalents when conducted by other international or national actors) by exploring the diplomatic and developmentalist politics of heritage-making at play and its transformational impact on societies. It also describes how local and outside states often collude with international mechanisms to further their interests at the expense of local communities and of citizens’ rights. 

Heritage as Aid and Diplomacy in Asia explores the following questions: Under the current international heritage regime, what are the mechanisms of—and the manipulations that take place within—ideological, political and cultural transmissions? What is heritage diplomacy and how can we conceptualize it? How do the complicated history and colonial past of Asia constitute the current practices of heritage diplomacy and shape heritage discourse in Asia? How do international organizations, nation-states, NGOs, heritage brokers and experts contribute to the history of the global heritage discourse? How has the flow of global knowledge been transferred and transformed? And how does the global hierarchy of cultural values function?

Co-publication: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute; International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS); and Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica

Co-published with the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and the Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica


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