International conference hosted by the Center for Heritage & Society. The goal of this conference is to bring together a wide range of academics, economists, heritage professionals, development experts, government officials, and community leaders to examine the economic impacts of cultural heritage and its implications for contemporary society. Yet rather than seeing heritage-based tourism, urban redevelopment, and antiquities looting as distinct economic instances involving monetary profits or losses, we hope to encourage a trans-disciplinary discussion of the overlapping economic entanglements of cultural heritage and the broader social implications.
Themes to be explored in this conference will include (1) Tourism: How has the need to market cultural heritage shaped communities, landscapes, and historic centers? Do common methods for drawing tourists (seeking UNESCO World Heritage status, creating destinations, building new museums, etc.) actually increase tourism? What kinds of social or economic costs does tourism give rise to, and who or what bears the burden of these costs? (2) Urban Revitalization: How does the promise of heritage tourism revenues lead to new ways of marketing or packaging the city? What types of (mega)projects does heritage tourism give rise to? Does it lead to ‘economic revitalization’? Who ultimately profits? And what impacts does it have on the fabric of the city? (3) Archaeological Looting, the Antiquities Market, and its Costs: What does looting tell us about the needs of the communities who live on and near archaeological sites? What is the larger socio-economic context of looting in the global antiquities market? Who benefits from the movement of archaeological material from field to lab to museum?