Call for Papers: Heritage and Posthumanism

Thursday 23 November 2017

Association of Critical Heritage Studies Conference


Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

1-6 September 2018


Heritage and Posthumanism

We invite papers of 15-20 mins on the below themes as part of a session to be organised for the 2018 ACHS Conference ‘Heritage Across Borders’. To submit an abstract please follow the instructions at:

The ‘posthumanities’ operates as an umbrella term bringing together heterogeneous fields of research and philosophy, including animal studies, environmental humanities, new animism, cyborg studies, speculative realism, new materialism, nonhuman philosophy, multispecies ethnography, biopolitics and ecological ethics. Posthumanities scholars explore the theoretical, practical and ethical implications of the entanglement of humans, animals, the environment, and technology. Despite the relevance of these themes to heritage, the implications of posthumanist thinking remain almost completely unexplored within the field. This session will explore the varied conceptual and methodological borders posthumanism allows us to cross, and their significance to the field of critical heritage studies.

Over the past two decades, critical heritage studies scholars and international heritage policies and charters have argued for the significance of human processes of value creation in the production of heritage. Such thinking sees heritage as socially constructed rather than being a quality inherent to objects, places or practices. Opposing this has been a movement within the humanities and social sciences (and to some extent also within the natural sciences) which has suggested that meaning and matter are not separate-but rather inter-related. This perspective asks us to rethink contradictory approaches found across natural and cultural heritage management, such as the celebration of existence value in biodiversity conservation and the predominance of the concept of social value in the protection of cultural artefacts.

Building on these themes and addressing the notion of borders from a theoretical standpoint, this session invites participants to reflect on the intersections of critical heritage studies and posthumanities thinking. In what ways can concepts in the posthumanities ‘animate’ debates in critical heritage studies? How does our understanding of heritage shift when considered from the perspective of posthuman futures? Ultimately, if ‘heritage’ is fundamentally concerned with human practices of value generation, is a posthuman philosophy of heritage even possible?

Session Organisers:

Rodney Harrison, UCL,

Colin Sterling, UCL,

Deadline: 30 November 2017