21/1 – Power and Culture

Module Leader:
Eszter Jakab
2021-2022 Summer
Social Sciences

The module aims to acquaint students with the main concepts of and critical approaches to cultural heritage and its role in the dynamics of global power relations since the 18th century. We examine a great variety of case studies focusing on, but not exclusive to the South Asian region and will debate the controversial aspects considering their political, religious, ethnic, cultural, and historical contexts.
The first two sessions introduce the Western European concept of cultural heritage and its relation to history and memory. The next four sessions reflect on the “colonial gaze” in India, and the politics of culture representation, and we debate the legacy of colonialism in today’s heritage and museum practices. The last two sessions focus on the main domains of conflict along religious and political faultlines and synthesize the critical perspectives acquired during the module.
As a learning outcome, students will have a solid understanding of how the notion of cultural heritage is both historical and constructed, and embedded into global structures of power, and will be able to critically address historical and present-day cases. The module is recommended for anyone interested in history or social sciences and may serve as a starting point for cultural heritage, memory, post-colonial, and area studies.

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