International Institute for Asian Studies


Call for papers

Politics of Cultural Heritage in China

Proposals are invited for the following panel at the Association of Critical Heritage Studies 4th Biennial Conference 2018: Heritage Across Borders.

Date: 1-6 September 2018

Venue: Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China


Panel: Politics of Cultural Heritage in China

Heritage, as both discourse and practice, has powerful appeal across official and public domains, transforming the social, economic and cultural life of localities, reshaping the domestic and global image of nation states, and facilitating international relations on different levels. Cultural heritage has served in nation-building processes, fostering national identity and nationalism across European countries. Similarly, nation states have appropriated cultural heritage as a political tool in the international realm, as it has been subject to inter-state power struggles, pact voting within the UNESCO as well as cultural diplomacy campaigns.

While many of these political uses of heritage received scholarly attention in “the West”, heritage politics and policy in China have been less subject of research. This is surprising since, following its reevaluation and revitalization in the 1980s, China has not only fully embraced international heritage discourses and norms and has come to regard cultural heritage as a significant political and socio-economic resource in the domestic and international realm. The national and local governments have employed cultural heritage as a resource for economic development (i.e. in the tourism industry). By regarding politics of cultural heritage as a battleground of contestation and selective cooperation between various stakeholders, this session seeks to contribute to and deepen the discussion of heritage politics in China.

The session particularly invites contributions that examine the role heritage plays in Chinese governance and its socio-economic consequences. Furthermore, we are interested in contributions that discuss key terms and discourses surrounding heritage in China, its effects as well stakeholders‘ response to Chinese heritage discourse and politics.

Abstract Submission An abstract in English (up to 500 words) can be sent to by 30 November 2017. The submission should also include an abstract title, the author’s name, affiliation, a short resume as well as contact details (including email address).

If you have any question, please contact the panel organizers: 

Dr. Yujie Zhu (Convenor), Lecturer, Heritage and Museum Studies, Australian National University

Dr. Christina Maags (co-convenor), Lecturer, Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS