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Heritage and Liminality: Cross-Cultural and Inter Disciplinary Perspectives on Liminality and Cultural Heritage

Heritage as an Agent of Change (Epistemologies, Ontologies, Teaching)Notions of HeritageHeritage Changes Itself (Geographical and Linguistic Processes of Transformation)
Heritage changes itselfHeritage and geographyLinguistic transformation of heritageNotions of heritage
Regular session
9:00, Mardi 7 Juin 2016 (6 heures)
Heritage has multiple, concurrent origins. It is performed and produced by individuals, groups and organizations, or institutions on various scales. It is a transformative process and thus closely connected to the transitional. In heritage, transitionality may be usefully conceptualized under the rubric of the liminal, which at its core anticipates change and transformation, structure-agency relationships, affect, and human experience—all significant issues in recent theoretical debates in the field.
Various individuals, groups, institutions and even countries can create, attempt to control or contest liminality. Examining heritage in light of liminality can pertain to interrogating notions of transition, boundary and border zones and their manifestations and constructions as well as the actors who construct them and their possible intentions in both quotidian and exceptional times. Additionally, new insights may be drawn about understanding spatial and temporal transitions between heritage sites and landscapes and spaces of everyday life or the structure of experiencing a heritage place. In coupling liminality and heritage, the session ultimately pursues a two-fold objective: to develop a better or different understanding of heritage through the use of liminality, and to explore the potential contribution of heritage to understandings of liminality in the present.
Authors are invited to analyze the relationships between heritage and liminality in their multiple forms. The session cuts through a number of conference themes and welcomes papers from multiple disciplines including geography, architecture, anthropology, sociology, tourism studies and politics. Both theoretical and case-based studies with theoretical implications will be considered.
Possible topics of investigation include but are not limited to the following interrelated aspects:
1. Time and temporality – how thresholds and liminal zones change over time and how is the transition experienced by various groups and/or individuals?
• What are the temporal qualities of thresholds in relation to places?
• What are the temporal differences between liminal zones and their immediate surroundings?
• How, when and by whom are they constructed as thresholds?
• How do thresholds and transitions transform in time and what are the causes for their transformation?
• How is the question of time related to other tangible or intangible aspects of experiencing heritage?
2. Narrative
• What are the narratives of entering/transitioning for various groups of people?
• How are experiences narrated on a quotidian basis and how does that narrative differ in other times?
• At a more local scale, what are the various narratives of entering, border zones and thresholds and how do they interact?
• How, when and why are transitions performed?
• What kind of performances and actions create, keep or dissolve a liminal state at various scales: in relation to a locale (as in entering and exiting) or in a set of intangible institutional structures that operate at multiple scales?
3. Place
• How is liminality created, controlled or contested in place?
• Who are the actors (individuals, collectives or institutions) who create or resist liminality?
4. Embodiment and concretization
• What are the symbolic (visual, structural and other forms) markers of such zones?
• How do they appear and how are they constructed in their settings (urban, architectural, landscape)?
• How does historical transformation of the setting influence the construction of a liminal zone and vice versa?
A selection of papers will be considered for inclusion in an academic publication.
Deakin University, Curtin University
Research Fellow, Adjunct Research Fellow
University of Western Australia

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