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Title: The politics of China's cultural heritage on display : Yinxu Archaeological Park in the making
Author: Wang, S.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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Taking the Anyang Yinxu archaeological site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in China, as a case study, this doctoral thesis project aims to explore the significance of ‘heritage’ in contemporary China. The research investigates how different interest bodies at various scales – UNESCO, the state, municipality, archaeologists, local inhabitants – project idealized images of what Yinxu “should” be; the tensions between these disparate social agents regarding place making form the core concern of my research. Could cultural memory and nationalism be maintained, intensified or transformed through museological practices / heritage-making? How do different social relationships situate the ideas of cultural heritage per se from their own perspectives? From September 2009 to October 2010, I was based at Anyang Yinxu Archaeological Field Station, where I documented the various processes involved in the staging of Yinxu Archaeological Park. I paid special attention to the methods employed and dilemmas encountered in the processes of conservation and presentation. In this thesis, firstly, I trace the history of Chinese approaches to heritage conservation, and will discuss the current phenomenon of the heritage boom in modern China, which forms a heritage-complex industry. Secondly, I describe and analyze the process of place-making at various scales, as well as the social impact of state-imposed projects of heritage branding and local memory of place at Anyang Yinxu. Lastly, I discuss the competing sources of memory, identity and locality at various scales that reveal themselves in the process of heritage-making in post-Mao China. The socio-political, economic and academic usages or consumption of Yinxu World Heritage Site are addressed in the thesis. The focus is thus on cultural heritage issues surrounding Yinxu archaeological site, and includes other current cultural heritage issues in China within its scope.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available