Engaging with the future of ‘critical heritage studies’: looking back in order to look forward
Witcomb, Andrea and Buckley, Kristal 2013, Engaging with the future of ‘critical heritage studies’: looking back in order to look forward, International journal of heritage studies, vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 562-578.
This article engages with the Association for Critical Heritage Studies Manifesto which argues that heritage studies is in need of a complete renovation. We do so by looking back to two earlier moments. The first when museum studies also called for a renovation, drawing on those experiences as potentially instructive for the immediate future of heritage studies. The second a debate within cultural studies on the value of engagement with the world outside of academia to achieve the discipline’s political aims. Thus, while agreeing with the questions posed by the Manifesto, we argue that rather than casting the terms of the debate in a way that positions the professional field as needing renovation from without, we might do better by fostering a more ‘organic’ sense of intellectual work, one that values engagement and collaboration rather than critique for its own sake. Our conclusion points to the importance of the teaching of heritage studies as a potential site for such a practice as well as more collaborative models of research practice.