Between Heritage and Peace: Heritage preservation
in the time of “After Orientalism”

The 10th International Conference of Museums for Peace

Title: Between Heritage and Peace: Heritage preservation in the time of “After Orientalism”

Authors: Dr. Junko Toriyama (Associate Professor, Ritsumeikan University), Dr. Shin Yasuda (Associate Professor, Takasaki City University of Economics), Prof. Léon Buskens (Leiden University, Director of NIMAR)

Abstract: “Orientalism” (1978) has been one of the most influential debates in the late 20th century at least for the anthropologists interested in the Middle East. There is no doubt that Said beautifully portrayed the discursively constituted Western domination and unfair Western supremacy which can still be observed even in contemporary knowledge production. However, it is also true that as the discussion of orientalism or imperialism had become so prominent, it helped the researchers to become indolent in examining the power relations in detail in empirical ways. In fact, we are exposed to diverse layers of domination day to day that are intertwined in complex ways in which the orientalism is only one layer among many others. How can we formulate the discussion of heritage preservation without directly engaging in reproducing domination, nor being trapped by the identity politics? How can we promote peace through heritage preservation that is not built upon someone else’s expense? In this panel, three anthropologists working in the Middle East discuss heritage preservation as an active practice of envisioning the peace, which is open to participants regardless of one’s background.