University of Massachusetts Amherst




Courses Overview

International Heritage Online Studies Program

Related Courses in Heritage & Society at UMass Amherst


International Heritage Online Studies

The International Heritage Online Studies Program provides professional training and methodological tools to graduate students in heritage-related disciplines (e.g. history, archaeology, planning, public policy, economics, sociology, education, and communication) and to professionals engaged in heritage administration in a wide variety of professional settings, including museums, the National Park Service or other governmental organizations, NGOs, private firms, town and city governments, etc. It places its emphasis on economic sustainability, community engagement, local identity, and social development, to differentiate it from more material- and structural-conservation oriented historic preservation training. Click here to learn more.

Summer 2011 Session 1 Course Offerings
May 16 - June 6

Registration Deadline May 1

LLPER 42: Digital Heritage as a Tool of Public Engagement with the Past

Instructor: Jeffery Guin

This course for heritage professionals will explore the potential of new media to overcome the constraints of time and budget to communicate effectively with the public about the significance of archaeology, historical monuments, heritage resources, and community memory. Participants will learn techniques for using interactive tools like Facebook and Twitter, as well as quick methods for producing sharable multimedia including podcasts, photos and video for posting to services like iTunes, Flickr and YouTube. They will also learn how to easily combine these activities in platforms like blogs and wikis to tell engaging stories about heritage. Case studies and step-by-step instruction in the use of these free online tools will ultimately help the participants to develop their own heritage social networks. The participants in this course will also gain the skills necessary to craft a mission-based new media strategy for themselves or their affiliated organizations that will help them connect and collaborate efficiently, effectively and measurably with their target audiences.

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LLPER 44: Safeguarding Intangible Heritage

Instructor: Dr. Sophia Labadi

This course aims to equip participants with an understanding and a working appreciation of both theoretical and operational approaches to intangible cultural heritage. It also aims to equip participants with the necessary skills to empower communities and to engage them in the safeguarding of their own heritage. All through this course, the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (henceforth the ICH Convention) will serve as a reference point. This course targets heritage professionals, community leaders, non-profit organization staff members, civil servants as well as higher education students from the social sciences/humanities (anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, public policy…).

Numerous are the professionals skilled at preserving the tangible heritage and versed in its comprehensive literature. However, professionals able to safeguard the living heritage made, inter alia, of practices, representations, performing art forms or cosmologies are lacking. Hence the importance of this course where students will develop an understanding of the role of intangible heritage in cultural identity; the convergences and differences between tangible and intangible heritage; the national and international mechanisms for the implementation of the ICH Convention; the diverse ways in which communities can be involved and empowered in the process of intangible heritage safeguarding or the manifold ways of safeguarding intangible heritage, including those mechanisms provided by the ICH Convention.

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Summer 2011 Session 2 Course Offerings
June 7 - July 12

Registration Deadline May 22

LLPER 40:Communicating with the Public about Heritage

Instructor: Jennifer McStotts

Every heritage project includes, by necessity, both advocacy and interpretation. In the public arena, the heritage flag-bearer must be capable of both promoting and defending his or her cause or project, especially in the dreaded event of a prolonged battle for public opinion. What strategies can be used to persuade the public to support a heritage project on a rhetorical level? What skills must be deployed to rebut an opponent's claims? Even in the absence of controversy, how do heritage professionals campaign for the public's interest and investment in a heritage project? Moreover, many heritage professionals face the challenge of interpreting the heritage value of a project, or the work itself, for the public. The same skills come into play: How does one identify the target audiences of an interpretive program during the heritage management process? How can one effectively present different levels of interpretation and presentation to multiple audiences? How can an interpretation optimize the use of multi-media without becoming "all glitter and no substance"?

This course will give participants hands on experience analyzing and composing public communications regarding heritage. They will analyze the rhetorical and practical effectiveness of heritage campaigns, including those in their own communities or areas of interest. Participants will be able to focus on the structure of arguments and on the visual design of campaign materials, depending on the case studies they select. In the latter half of the course, participants will become familiar with the ICOMOS Charter for the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites, will compare a variety of interpretation and presentation case studies, including some of their own choosing, and will be given the option to engage in a detailed critique or an interpretive design of their own.

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LLPER 43: Introduction to Sites of Conscience: Addressing Social Issues at Heritage Sites and Making the Past Matter

Instructor: Sarah Pharaon, Co-sponsored by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience

This course will introduce participants to the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a worldwide network of heritage sites specifically dedicated to remembering past struggles for justice and addressing their contemporary legacies. Using case studies and program models from member sites, the course will introduce participants to the best practices of institutions around the globe in addressing issues of pressing concern in their communities including religious conflict, cultural genocide, immigration and state violence. Through readings, exercises and discussion, course participants will analyze specific strategies developed and employed by Sites of Conscience to increase cultural relevancy and activate historical perspective through public dialogue on contemporary issues. Course participants will have the opportunity to connect with leaders in the Sites of Conscience movement around the globe, from such diverse sites as Memoria Abierta in Argentina to the Gulag Museum at Perm-36 in Russia to the District Six Museum in South Africa. Course participants will also be given access to the Coalition’s Online Forum, where the Coalition’s learning community exchanges proven program models across diverse international contexts. Participants will evaluate and critique the current interpretation at a heritage site of their choosing and propose a program model for use at the site which utilizes Sites of Conscience methodology and practice.

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Summer 2011 Session 3 Course Offerings
July 13 - August 16

Registration Deadline June 26

LLPER 45: From Controversy to Community Engagement: How to turn disputes into dialogue

Instructor: Liz Sevcenko, Co-sponsored by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience

Heritage is an inherently contested terrain. Struggles over how we remember and represent the past are inextricably linked to struggles over representation and resources in the present. Managers of heritage sites will never be able to isolate themselves from conflicts with and among their communities - but they do have a choice of how to relate to the issues underlying these conflicts. Should heritage sites engage directly in controversies? Or would this alienate certain publics, governing bodies, and supporters? But if sites stay completely silent on the issues that are of greatest concern to their communities, will they be rejected as irrelevant and unresponsive? Or is there a middle road, in which sites can serve as forums for their publics to gain historical perspective on the questions they are grappling with today - even the questions that divide them - and discuss how they should be addressed in the future?

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LLPER 41: Engaging Communities in Local Heritage Programs

Instructor: Margaret Purser

For social science students (anthropology, sociology, education, communications, and public policy) and for career enhancement by community leaders, non-profit organization staff members, and city administrators. This course will introduce participants to useful and tested frameworks for facilitating community consultation, recommended or required by many heritage development projects. It will also stress local benefits for community-based activities, as a source of community rejuvenation, with practical skill sets for achieving local development.

This course uses the experiences of US-based and international community heritage projects and the framework of international heritage charters and best-practice guidelines to help students a.) understand the main elements of "community-based heritage," b.) design community engagement programs, and c.) evaluate their effectiveness in improving the value and utility of current heritage management practices.

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Center for Heritage and Society, 215 Machmer Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA 01003 phone: 413.545.2221  fax: 413.545.9494