The Right to World Heritage?

Professor Lynn Meskell, Director of Stanford Archaeology Center, Stanford University

Co-presented with the School of Philosophical and Historial Inquiry (SOPHI) and the School of Letters, Art and Media, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

7 May, 2014

The year 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of UNESCO’s 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. It remains the only international instrument for safeguarding the world’s heritage. This presentation takes UNESCO as its centerpiece and asks how are emergent rights to the past being presented, promoted and prevented by particular actors internationally? One of UNESCO’s millennium challenges was the very issue of sovereignty in an increasingly transnational world and in the face of indigenous claims and rights that often conflict with nation states. While UNESCO was forged on the liberal principles of diplomacy, tolerance and development after the devastation of WWII, today statist agendas have come to eclipse substantive consideration of both global heritage and local communities.

Professor Lynn Meskell

Professor Lynn Meskell is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Archaeology Center at Stanford University. She received her BA (Hons) First Class and the University Medal from the University of Sydney in 1994. For her Phd in Archaeology (1994-1997), she was awarded the Kings College scholarship from Cambridge University. She held the Salvesen Junior Research Fellowship at New College, Oxford University (1997-1999) before accepting a position at Columbia University in New York City where she became Professor in 2005. From that time onwards she has been Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University. In 1999 she founded the Journal of Social Archaeology, for which she serves as Editor. She has been awarded grants and fellowships including those from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Australian Research Council, the American Academy in Rome, the School of American Research and Deakin University. Some of her recent books and edited collections Cosmopolitan Archaeologies (ed. 2009) and The Nature of Culture: The New South Africa (2012). Her new research focuses on the role of UNESCO in terms of heritage rights, sovereignty and international politics.

Professor Meskell’s lecture launches the new Master of Museum and Heritage Studies Program and we welcome people to join us for refreshments afterwards.