Log in

World Heritage Now: Evaluating the Past, Present, and Future of UNESCO’S Cultural Policy Program

  • 28 Sep 2012
  • 29 Sep 2012
  • Penn Cultural Heritage Center, Philadelphia, PA
World Heritage Now: Evaluating the Past, Present, and Future of UNESCO’S Cultural Policy Program
Friday, September 28, 2012 – Saturday, September 29, 2012
10:00am – 6:00pm, Classroom 2, Penn Museum

Conference Description: Over forty years ago, the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) undertook an evaluation of cultural policies in member countries in order to determine what important issues the international community could address. Two key international conventions, the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Cultural Property and the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, emerged from this process. Both have been instrumental in a variety of ways: shaping contemporary discourse about culture, generating new national and international law and policy, encouraging new entitlements and rights to culture, and providing a market for global tourism and economic development. As important as these two conventions have been to the management of cultural sites and the protection of cultural property generally, seldom has their interrelationship been considered. At the same time, we do not know very much about the changes and developments that each has generated over time. This conference, then, aims to take the common genesis of the 1970 and 1972 Conventions as a starting point for scrutinizing the divergence, intersections, and outcomes of cultural heritage policies in the forty years following their implementation. The upcoming fortieth anniversary of the 1972 UNESCO Convention presents a prime opportunity to evaluate UNESCO’s cultural policies of the past generation. This conference will ask: Have the UNESCO Conventions met their original goals? What has changed in the years since? Where have the Conventions succeeded? What have been their unanticipated consequences? Surprisingly, these are questions that current scholarly literature fails to address. When scholars do examine these Conventions, it is typically in prospective terms with the intention of developing better and more appropriate policies. This conference provides a venue to do the opposite: it solicits the thoughtful and provocative assessment of the global impact of these cultural policies over the past four decades. By bringing together intellectuals who study cultural policy in some capacity, this conference aims to shed some light on the histories and trajectories of the UNESCO Conventions specifically and the study of culture more broadly.


J.P Singh, Georgetown University
Lynn Meskell, Stanford University
Jane Levine, Sotheby's
Morag Kersel, DePaul University
Christina Luke, Boston University
Patty Gerstenblith, DePaul University
Sophie Vigneron, University of Kent
Brian I. Daniels, University of Pennsylvania
Noel Salazar, University of Leuven
Ian Hodder, Stanford University
Randy Mason, University of Pennsylvania
Richard M. Leventhal, University of Pennsylvania
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software