Heritage and memory in East Africa today: a review of recent developments in cultural heritage research and memory studies

Hughes, Lotte and Fouere, Marie-Aude (2015). Heritage and memory in East Africa today: a review of recent developments in cultural heritage research and memory studies. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa, 50(4) pp. 542–558.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0067270X.2015.1102940

Abstract

This paper argues that the broadening over time of definitions of heritage has had strong implications for researchers working in East Africa today. Moving away from material preservationist issues of concern to governments and international heritage bodies, most scholars have recently focused their research on the entanglement of heritage with memory, politics, identity and social healing processes. They also increasingly investigate the growing agency and centrality of civil society stakeholders, as well as the negotiation of power and authority between the different levels — local, national, international — involved in heritage making and heritage promotion. Focusing on the case of slavery and the slave trade, the rise of civil society engagement and the contestations that continue to swirl around the commemoration of liberation heroes, the paper depicts how heritage and memory have become a site of struggle — symbolically, ethically and emotionally charged — in today's East Africa.

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