Heritopia explores the multiple meanings of the past in the present, using the
famous temples of Abu Simbel and other World Heritage sites as points of
departure. It employs three perspectives in its attempt to understand and
explain both past and present the truth of knowledge, the beauties of narrative,
and ethical demands. Crisis theories are rejected as nostalgic expressions of
contemporary social criticism. Modernity is viewed as a collection of
contradictory narratives and reinterpreted as a combination of technological
progress and recently evolved ideas. The book argues that while heritage is
expanding, it is not to be found everywhere, and its expansion does not
constitute a problem. It investigates the World Heritage Convention as an
innovation, demonstrating that the definition of a World Heritage site succeeds
in creating a tenable category of outstanding and exclusive heritage. The book
introduces the term “Heritopia” in order to conceptualise the utopian
expectations associated with World Heritage. Finally, it points to the
possibilities of using the past creatively when meeting present-day and future
accelerates. Time means steps forward or backward, rise or fall.
The Past is a Foreign Country by DavidLowenthal had a broad impact with its anthropological look at the past. As the title suggests, and as the content of the book confirms, the idea is that the present has been alienated from the past. The past has become different, remote, and exotic – a “foreign country” (Lowenthal 1985 : xvi, 406; 2015:3f, 8ff, 358ff).
Lowenthal’s title was taken from the author L. P. Hartley’s novel The Go-Between, whose opening sentence is, “The past is a foreign country: they
recognise the three timescales of the French Annales school – the event, the conjuncture, and the long-term structure.
The field can display sharp contrasts between the rhetorical slogans for or against protection and preservation – via the critical analyses of how the past has been or may, should, or will be used – to categorical statements to the effect that history, memory, and heritage are expressions of a society that is either rising or decaying.
The Past is a Foreign Country (1985), by the historian and geographer DavidLowenthal, became a classic soon after
competing narratives and
the idea of truthful representation, deliberately highlighting their
fictive nature by drawing attention to the ‘seams’ of their narrative.8
DavidLowenthal argues that what marks out a fictional narrative
from a historical one is not its content – as argued above – but the
purpose of its author in writing it.9 He argues that narrative
inevitably shapes historical accounts, and also that fictional
accounts must, of necessity, be based in the real world, even if they
are not representing real-life events, because we simply cannot
Printing Terror places horror comics of the mid-twentieth century in dialogue with the anxieties of their age. It rejects the narrative of horror comics as inherently and necessarily subversive and explores, instead, the ways in which these texts manifest white male fears over America’s changing sociological landscape. It examines two eras: the pre-CCA period of the 1940s and 1950s, and the post-CCA era to 1975. The authors examine each of these periods through the lenses of war, gender, and race, demonstrating that horror comics are centred upon white male victimhood and the monstrosity of the gendered and/or racialised other. It is of interest to scholars of horror, comics studies, and American history. It is suitably accessible to be used in undergraduate classes.
Heritage is everywhere
DavidLowenthal’s classic The Past is a Foreign Country opens with the sentence “The past is everywhere”, and he used exactly the same words three decades later when he revisited that country (Lowenthal 1985 : xv; 2015: 1). The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History begins in much the same way, but here the past has been limited to heritage: “ALL AT ONCE HERITAGE IS EVERYWHERE – in the news, in the movies, in the marketplace – in everything from galaxies to genes” (Lowenthal 1997 : ix). The phrase “Heritage everywhere” is
its desire for an idealised past, and a critique of nostalgia as resistant to change permeates most politically oriented theories of the concept, like
those advanced by Marshall Berman and DavidLowenthal.17 Attaching to this
tradition of thought, Susan Stewart defines nostalgia as a ‘social disease’ that
denies present reality, and argues that indulging in nostalgic reverie can never be
other than a conservative pursuit.18 From a feminist standpoint, Lynne Huffer
concludes that nostalgic returns to even potentially enabling myths or narratives
are doomed from the
South Africa , Cape Town,
1977; Robert Archer and Antoine Bouillon, The South Africa Game:
Sport and Racism , London, 1982.
See, for example, DavidLowenthal, West
Indian Societies , London, 1972.
Keith A. P. Sandiford, Cricket and the
representation of topographical actualities. 5 Specifically in relation to
Britain, DavidLowenthal has remarked that ‘nowhere else is
landscape so freighted with legacy, nowhere else does the very term
suggest not simply scenery and genres de vie but quintessential
national virtues’. 6 Landscape in Britain, therefore, acquired
particular sets of meanings and associations, and its
places which have made
and still make us unique as a community.10 DavidLowenthal points out that
almost everything may be declared a part of heritage today: ‘family history,
buildings and landscapes, prehistory and antiques, music and paintings, plants
and animals, language and folklore – ranging from remote to recent times’.11 It is
important that these things define the community, be it tribe, region, or nation.
Of course, such defining heritage is largely constructed in the present, retrospectively, to fulfil its cohesive mission; it exaggerates, denies, and twists