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Issues of mutuality and sharing in the transnational spaces of heritage – contesting diaspora and homeland experiences in Palestine

Journal article
Authors Feras Hammami
Published in International Journal of Heritage Studies
Volume 22
Issue 6
Pages 446-465
ISSN 1352-7258
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Conservation
Pages 446-465
Language en
Keywords Mutuality in heritage; transnational NGOs; diaspora; homeland; resistance
Subject categories Globalization Studies, Peace and conflict research, Middle East, Architecture, Cultural anthropology, Other Humanities not elsewhere specified


Wars, colonialism and other forms of violent conflict often result in ethnic cleansing, forced dispersion, exile and the destruction of societies. In places of diaspora and homelands, people embody various experiences and memories but also maintain flows of connections, through which they claim mutual ambitions for the restoration of their national identity. What happens when diaspora communities ‘return’ and join homeland communities in reconstruction efforts? Drawing on heritage as metaphorical ‘contact zones’ with transnational affective milieus, this study explores the complex temporalities of signification, experiences and healing that involve both communities in two specific sites, Qaryon Square and Al-Kabir Mosque, located in the Historic City of Nablus, Palestine. Conflicts at these two sites often become intensified when heritage experts overlook the ‘emotional’ and ‘transnational’ relationships of power that revolve around the diverging narratives of both communities. This study proposes new methodological arts of the contact zone to enhance new ways in heritage management that can collective engage with the multiple and transnational layers of heritage places beyond their geographic boundaries and any relationship with defined static pasts. Such engagement can help explore the contentious nature of heritage and the resonances it may have for reconciliation in post-violent conflict times.

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