[WITHDRAWN] Making the Past Speak Again: Practicing Heritage across Cultural Boundaries
One of the peculiar features of contemporary discourse is to differentiate the past from the present, and make it as “a foreign country” to be cherished as a heritage for cultural consumption. How could the sense of place be narrated as part of the local people’s everyday life, related to the ongoing transformation of heritage sites? In what way could the Chinese sages from the ancient speak again, not about ideas of philosophy, but as a discourse to address the local and global concerns afresh? This contribution presents a case of action research that treats heritage practice as communication situated in place, memory and local life. Since 2013, we were invited to carry out a heritage project in Confucius home place, in collaboration with local government and communities. The presentation shows how we turn our research work into communicative action that embraces diverse voices as well as new genres of narrating the past. By attending communication in this way, we brought our
predecessors’ mode of experiencing their past into the changing space of heritage site. Meanings from the past are activated to interweave complex matrix of cultural discourses between the past and the present, and the local and the global. Words of antiquity that once carried deep meanings regain their resonance in contemporary space and life. Language thus plays a constitutive role in making and remaking cultural heritage that is no longer fixed in a bygone age, but continuously communicates with the past as recorded in historical text, and with people who dwell on it.