After Heritage
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After Heritage

Critical Perspectives on Heritage from Below

Edited by Hamzah Muzaini and Claudio Minca

Focusing on the practices and politics of heritage-making at the individual and the local level, this book uses a wide array of international case studies to argue for their potential not only to disrupt but also to complement formal heritage-making in public spaces. Providing a much-needed clarion call to reinsert the individual as well as the transient into more collective heritage processes and practices, this strong contribution to the field of Critical Heritage Studies offers insight into benefits of the ‘heritage from below approach’ for researchers, policy makers and practitioners.
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Chapter 2: Official memorials, deathscapes, and hidden landscapes of ruin: material legacies of the Cambodian genocide

James A. Tyner

Abstract

Between 1975 and 1979 upwards of two million men, women and children died in the Cambodia genocide. Decades after the cessation of direct violence, the question of reconciliation in Cambodia remains fraught, in part because of competing claims over the meaning of reconciliation; but also because of the ‘authorship’ of Cambodia’s past. As part of a larger project that addresses the political economy of Cambodia’s past violence, in this chapter the author juxtapose the various ‘writings’ of violence on Cambodia’s present-day landscape. More precisely, he calls attention to the remembrance of Cambodia’s past violence ‘from below’, that is, the mundane spaces of quotidian life that remain unmarked and all-too-often unremarked. Specifically, the author contrasts the material legacies of genocide as exemplified by state-sanctioned memorials that, on the one-hand, cater to a largely Western clientele of ‘dark tourists’ and, on the other hand, hidden landscapes of past violence that are lived in the everyday by survivors and descendants of the genocide. These latter sites for the most part remained unremarked and unvisited. In so doing the author documents how the current efforts to remember the genocide are bounded; and how this bounding constructs a particular ‘heritage from above’ while simultaneously silencing the ongoing living of a ‘heritage from below’.

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