Monday, August 17, 2009

Faculty News: Robert Shepherd publishes article on UNESCO and Cultural Heritage in China

Robert Shepherd, Assistant Professor in the University Honors Program and the Department of Anthropology, published an article entitled, "Cultural Heritage, UNESCO, and the Chinese State" in the spring 2009 issue of Heritage Management.

In the past two decades, the government of the People's Republic of China has become a strong supporter of UNESCO material culture preservation efforts within China, including ethnic minority areas such as the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). This article uses a range of materials including fieldwork findings, museum research, and anthropological studies of ethnicity and development in China to examine this shift in state policy from the "modernization" of minority peoples through state-directed development to cultural preservation. Major findings are that these policies serve development in a different way, by supporting political claims to regions such as Tibet through the promotion of historical and cultural ties between China and Tibet, and by fostering a rapidly expanding domestic tourism industry in minority regions.

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