The Newsletter 57 Summer 2011

European lessons for Asian heritage studies

Michael Herzfeld

The heritage industry in Europe is grounded in a historically recent idea of the nation-state. That idea was exported to various Asian countries, which often transformed it along with associated notions of history and heritage. This brief essay examines some of the lessons to be learned from European experiments with heritage promotion and conservation (notably in capital cities) and warns of the dangers of repeating or even exacerbating the less salutary eff ects of those experiments in Asian contexts and especially that of Thailand, the country of the author’s principal research focus in Asia.

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