Skip to main content

Heritage on the margins: new perspectives on heritage and identity within and beyond national

Basic Info


Amid emerging extremisms and increasing polarization of societies individuals and communities struggle to find common political platforms. The growing number of heritage institution, conventions and lists may be interpreted as a call for heritage-making to address common evaluations of past and visions of future, from which ethnic, religious and other minorities with unequal access to political and social power have often been excluded. While in the 19th and first half of 20th century the understanding of heritage was often linked to nation-building and construction of homogenous communities, the latest reflections emphasize multi-perspectivity and understanding of heritage(s) as plurals. Therefore, the research programme will rethink the national in heritage-making (i.e. go below and beyond national) and question the inherent power relations involved in heritage-making. More importantly, it will evaluate and analyse minorities' heritages. Following critical heritage studies we will approach heritage as inherently dissonant, as the past active in the present, and above all as a process subjected to a continual negotiations. The research topic will be addressed in five thematic clusters:

  1. Heritage-making in dynamic border regions,
  2. Heritage in a mobile world,
  3. Language in use - use of language,
  4. Living with heritage, and
  5. Heritagization of space.

The main objective will be to identify, record, document, assess and analyse alternative forms, practices, and interpretation of heritage-making by minorities. The research will be multi- and interdisciplinary as it will include theoretical and methodological approaches of ethnic studies, anthropology, ethnology, linguistics, literature studies, geography, and history. It will thus enable a critical reflection on existing theoretical, conceptual and methodological approaches, further empirical investigations, and allow fresh (re)interpretations. It will contribute to the development of critical heritage studies and, above all, facilitate the empowerment of minorities and democratic participation in a modern pluralistic society.



minorities; heritage; heritage-making; heritagization; critical heritage studies; ethnic studies; border regions

Research areas
Contemporary history (since 1914) H250
Local and regional history, historical geography since the Middle Ages H280
Linguistics H350
Folklore H400
Cultural anthropology, ethnology S220