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#silkroad: Representations and Responses to Heritage in Central Asia

Leader: Fiona Katherine Smith, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; institutional connection: Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Funding period: October 2021 – March 2022

What is cultural heritage and how is this defined in both local and transregional discourses of ownership, nation-building, and development? How is Silk Road Heritage viewed from various gazes? How do actors seek representation and authority in heritage discourses? In the interdisciplinary B.A. seminar, representations of the Old Silk Road will be closely examined and deconstructed using elements of decolonial approaches to heritage studies. Following a preparatory phase (Week 1-6) in which the students are introduced to debates surrounding Heritage Studies and decolonial research approaches, the students conduct their own research (Week 7-12); preparing for the final presentations. While the research topics are ultimately conceived by the students themselves, potential research projects could look at the revival of traditional handicrafts in Uzbekistan, the rejuvenation of ancient aqueducts in Tajikistan, or heritage tourism in Samarkand and Bukhara. The semester concludes with a multimedia presentation of the visual research outputs (e.g. posters, short videos, etc.). Anthropological experience is desired but not essential as this methodology is discussed in the group and students with existing skills can share them with the others through peer-learning. The X-Student Research Group is especially suited to students of Area Studies, European Ethnology, Social Sciences, Cultural Studies, Art History, Archaeology, Ancient Studies, Cultura History, East Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and Historical Urban Studies. Because the X-Student Research Group is intentionally understood as a space for trial and experimentation, students from al disciplines can take part and are greatly welcome, so that the project can benefit from many different perspectives.

As a BUA module, this course is eligible for credit in the interdisciplinary area. In addition, it can be credited in BA Area Studies Asia/Africa, Module 12.

Beginn: 20.10.202

Termin: Mittwochs 14-16 Uhr

Kontakt: fiona.katherine.smith@hu-berlin.de / tobias.stefan@gmx.de