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Politics of Emotion in Heritage Works

Conference contribution
Authors Feras Hammami
Published in Heritage and Healthy Societies: Exploring the Links among Cultural Heritage, Environment, and Resilience. University of Massachusetts Amherst, May 14-16, 2014
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Conservation
Language en
Keywords Heritage, Emotion, Identity, Politics, Palestine
Subject categories Social Sciences Interdisciplinary, History and Archaeology, Cultural anthropology


Heritage in Palestine has always been utilised for issues of nationalism, superiority, identity and authority. Conflicts sometime escalate into violence politics, challenging both professional heritage practices and people identity. This study investigates the micro politics of “heritage works” in Palestine to uncover the ways conflicts are dealt with, and thereby activate a new dialogue on the relationship between heritage and society. The empirical analysis focused on the renovation works that have been carried out in the Qaryon Square and Al-Kabir Mosque, located in the Historic City of Nablus (HCN), during the period of peace (1993-2000) and the Second Intifada (Palestinian uprising against the occupation, 2000-today). The continuous military incursions in the HCN have resulted in massive destruction and killing, commemorated through the display of martyr’s photos and sculptures in the public spaces. The HCN has become a site of emotions. Visiting, living or working there engages people in emotional performances of heritage, and makes any outsider feel insider. This finding suggests professional heritage practices to situate “heritage” within a larger context than materiality and ourselves, find critical connections to the others and the pasts, and recognize emotions in heritage analysis. The would provide a deeper understanding of the relationship between heritage and society, and allow for contextualized professional heritage practices.

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