Call for Papers and Panels – Critical Perspectives on Culture and Preservation: Precarity in our Past, Present, and Future Cultural Heritages
This year’s Critical Legal Conference will feature a stream on “Critical Perspectives on Culture and Preservation: Precarity in our Past, Present, and Future Cultural Heritages”, for which both paper and panel submissions are encouraged. The conference occurs between September 1st and 3rd, 2016 at Kent University.
The past few years have born witness to the destruction of places, spaces, and objects that carry unquantifiable historical, heritage, and cultural value. As the world gazes on, horrified, many critical questions arise in relation to preservation, protection, ownership, and intervention. What role can or does law have? And how is the view of law’s role shaped by critical legal and radical perspectives?
Atrocities committed against relics of the past are but one aspect of the greater question of the role of preservation and protection in our globalizing world. Just as the term “culture” can capture nearly endless possibilities, so too can the question of what should be protected and preserved as “culture”.
What about the destruction of that which exists intangibly within the boundaries of cultural spaces, and practices? As the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage enters its next decade, has it been successful in its goals and intentions? Questions of how to strengthen and better dedicate ourselves to the preservation of human culture go far beyond the physical and the physically destroyed. Much of what constitutes art and culture is intangible—yet these cultural aspects are as vital to human civilization as the towering ruins of the past.
Alongside the question of how law should (or should not) employ preservation strategies in areas of conflict and war, the question of how law should respond to the privatization and commodification of culture within neoliberal development initiatives also arises.
What about urban culture in our cities? As neighbourhoods face gentrifying forces and municipal redevelopment strategies, what important buildings and spaces should be preserved? How do we determine what to preserve? Can live music venues benefit from intangible cultural heritage protection? In the UK, can and should pubs receive protection through legal tools such as designation as an Asset of Community Value in the face of an owner’s development rights? Or, in New York City, does an otherwise unremarkable building, such as the Stonewall Inn, merit landmark designation based on past important events or the importance it carries to a community like the LGBT community?
Further, if we critically deconstruct existing decisions and paradigms to provide, or not to provide, legally enforceable protection to spaces, places, and objects, will we find a replication of the architectures of hegemony, unequal valuation, or even, recolonization? Or will we find something else? Is the notion of “culture” itself something hegemonic or colonial?
This stream seeks to engage the work of critical and radical scholars and perspectives working at the intersections of law, culture, preservation, and the governance of culture—municipally, domestically, and internationally—as well as those interested in tangible and intangible cultural heritage matters and our human right to culture in all of its varied forms. The goal is to create a lively critical dialogue surrounding how we will treat crucial issues in the preservation of our array of collective past, present, and future cultures moving forward.
Possible ideas for conference papers could include (but are absolutely not limited to):
– The destruction or theft of cultural heritage in conflict regions.
– The role of cultural preservation during periods of urbanization or urban redevelopment.
– International or domestic law and the rise of tangible and intangible cultural heritage protection.
– The interaction between governance and culture.
Paper Proposals should include an abstracts of no longer than 300 words and a brief author biography. Panel Proposals should include the panel title and rationale (of no more than 300 words) and abstracts and biographies for all participants in the panel. Please send your Paper and Panel Proposal to [email protected] in a *.doc file. The Call Closes on 1 July 2016.