Workshop Looking at Heritage through the Anthropotopia Approach

Dans le cadre du projet REVERSE (“The Anthropocene upside down: REsponsible research, VERSatile knowledge, Environmental futures in action”) et du Master course in Environmmental Anthropology dirigé par Pr. Mara Benadusi, Katiana Le Mentec organisera lundi 4 avril un atelier de travail intitulé “Looking at Heritage and Territorial upheaval through the Anthropotopia Approach”.

Présentation de l’atelier

This session is a participative workshop, aiming at reflecting together, through our own fieldwork experiences and study-cases, at heritage sites. It will be divided in two parts.

During the first part, we will examine heritage sites through the anthropotopia approach. Before the workshop, participants will need to get acquainted with this approach by reading this short essai (in French, or contact me for the English version). The main idea is to identify various layers of anthropotopias in a particular site, to spot individuals and groups of people engaged in tangible, intangible, spiritual relationships with this site, and to reflect upon anthropotopia schemes in action there (which can be complementary or in conflict to the Heritage scheme).
Safa Amorri (Master Thema Mundo), Emilie Gourbin (Master Thema Mundo) and I will introduce the topic by presenting examples from Algeria, Quebec and China; the floor will then be open for discussion. We strongly encourage participants to explore both practices and discourses (words and emic categories included) used in the cultural area they study.  

The second part of the workshop will focus on issues related to heritage in context of territorial upheavals (sudden or gradual, unforeseen, prepared or planed modification on a physical space). Relying on field-research I have been doing in the Sichuanese area (China) for 14 years, upstream of the Three Gorges Dam and in the Wenchuan earthquake affected area, I will introduce glimpses of modalities to deal with “asset of exception” (“bien d’exception” – concept of Daniel Fabre), in such disturbing contexts. The presentation will explore successively Cultural Heritage affected by a transformative event (for instance a heritagized site threatened by destruction), Cultural Assets of Exception revealed or newly recognised by such an event (including the struggles involved for such recognition), and also heritagization of left-over materialities from a destructive event for educational, memorial and/or economic purposes (typically the preservation of a disaster ruin site).
Participants can get familiar with the case of the Beichuan County-seat earthquake ruins site in this article available online.
Following this panoramique over view, Sangam Thapa Magar (Master Thema Mundo) will present a critical analysis of the cases he is studying in Nepal, in particular the UNESCO cultural world heritage sites in the Kathmandu valley affected by the earthquake in 2015. We will then have a general discussion on heritage in context of territorial upheavals, involving reflection upon the participants’ study-cases.

Vieux chef-lieu de Yunyang, après le démentèlement et la relocalisation de la ville, amont du barrage des Trois Gorges (2015)

Date et lieu

Lundi 4 avril – 10h-16h
Au Département de Sciences politiques et sociales de l’Université de Catane (Italie)
Via Galina 14, room 2


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