Heritage: Representation and Authenticity

Our heritage is what makes us unique. It is one way that we create diversity in the world and how we can personally make an imprint. In the reading “What is Heritage” Rodney Harrison discusses how heritage is different among culture, class, nationalism, and political arenas. Heritage is very important in identifying and protecting who we are, therefore the World Heritage Committee makes sure to take nominations seriously.

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The process of naming a site as either a cultural site or cultural landscape must start with a nomination. This nomination is determined by the state. In order to be nominated the site or landscape must be “outstanding universal value”. In other words the site or landscape must be rationale into being a part of heritage of all humankind, have shared responsibility and protected for now and future generations. Once these regulations are set the next step is for the site or landscape to be evaluated by the Advisory Bodies.

The Advisory Bodies are in charge of evaluating if the site or landscape fits the selection criteria. There are 10 criteria with i-vi that fit into the cultural site and i-iv, vii-x that fit into the cultural landscape. The criteria can be summarized as : i) represent a masterpiece ii) exhibit important human values iii) bear unique testimony to cultural tradition iv) example of technological example that illustrates stages of history v) an example of traditional human settlement vi) to be tangibly associated with vii)natural phenomena and natural beauty viii) example of earth’s history ix) example of on-going evolution development of ecosystems x) contain natural habitats.

Once the Advisory Bodies nominate the site, they elect the World Heritage Committee. The World History Committee sets ground rules for operation of convention, agrees or disagrees if the site goes on the world heritage list, and then provides funds and advice to help countries preserve their heritage.

There is controversy over whether or not heritage is authentic. Authenticity has evolved over time so even the definition of authenticity defined by the World Heritage Committee isn’t necessarily authentic. Initially an authentic cultural site and landscape meant that it was to be in its original craftsmanship and substance. Now authenticity is recognized by its substance, design, and spirit. Unlike before, the World Heritage Committee is more focused on keeping the preservation of intangible heritage rather than being strict on the authenticity of the tangible heritage. For example the Philippine Rice Terraces have caused controversy on whether or not they have remained authentic. They recently have been producing other crops other than rice in order to keep revenue from declining. The issue here is that if these “authentic” rice terraces are “authentic” they should only be producing rice. However, in order to survive these workers must look towards other alternatives in receiving money, and to them their heritage is not affected.

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Our heritage is what we give meaning to. While the World Heritage Committee has creating a system for cultural sites and landscapes to be authentic, issues still arise due to conflicting views of what is valuable. So what makes your heritage valuable and what makes you unique?

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10 Responses to Heritage: Representation and Authenticity

  1. anunez35 says:

    I really like how in your intro you explained the meaning of world heritage. It gives readers an insight, so they can understand the rest of your blog post.

  2. rramirez46 says:

    I like how you were able to explain the nomination process so that anyone could easily understand it. I also enjoyed reading about the example of the rice terraces that you used to further explain your topic, which was helpful in relating the authenticity to a site.

  3. mbrooks8 says:

    Your post is well thought out as you voice out your interpretations. While you do give your own definitions, you keep the post informative by adding facts and listing criteria. Nice post

  4. dchouu says:

    I really enjoyed this post because it was a very simple and easy way of breaking down the process of making a site a World Heritage site. This is very important because it allows us to understand the principle of how the process works and is formed.

  5. Your article was very informative and well written. It was straight to the point and it was easy to follow. It broke down the process of how a site gets nominated. It also explains the controversy when it comes to proving whether or not a site is authentic.

  6. sbolanos3 says:

    I appreciate you breaking down the process of nomination for World Heritage site. You breaking it down makes the reader have a better understanding on what the point you are trying to get across.

  7. dvasquez10 says:

    I enjoyed reading the nomination towards a landscape becoming a historical site in a simplified matter. I strongly agree with your first sentence, “our heritage is what makes us unique.” We now live in a country where every single individual has a different nationality and a unique heritage. Having a variety of different heritages will allow us to discover new ideas and cultures.

  8. miapatel123 says:

    Your post was really informative. I enjoyed reading it because it was simple to follow.

  9. I liked how you made the nomination and selection process of a World Heritage site easy to understand. I also find it ironic how the definition of authenticity isn’t even authentic by its own standards. Finally, I enjoyed what you had posted and I agree that “our heritage is what we give meaning to”.

  10. hmunoz2 says:

    I liked how you used a lot of the information we learned about in class and tied them into your blog. Really good job in the blog. I can tell you did your research.

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