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Unformatted text preview: INTANGIBLE HERITAGE CLAIMS : Drawing on the work of Michael Brown, Silverman & Ruggles ( Cultural Heritage & Human Rights , Chapter 1), Logan (Chapter 2), Zimmerman (Chapter 8), and Smith (Chapter 9), analyze the sticky issue of cultural rights as human rights. Discuss how world heritage functions as a form of cultural heritage, and how both of these concepts are related to or clash with human rights. In particular, discuss the relationship between community claims to cultural rights, the legal codification of most rights as individual rights, and national or global claims to heritage that transcends both community and individual claims. Do cultural groups have a right to their own historical narratives, to be weighed equally with research narratives? Who should have the authority to decide which intangible cultural practices should be protected, and which can be condemned? Heritage is a concept mostly viewed as positive, but through it, much conflict also occurs. Heritage allows for the preservation of material or tangible culture- objects of art and daily use, architecture and landscape- and intangible culture- performances of dance, music, theater, and ritual, as well as human memory. These tangible and intangible objects form a part of community as well as individual identities. Conflicts occur over issues of indigenous land and cultural property rights, or between ethnic minorities and the majority disputing the right to define and manage the cultural heritage of the minority. The question that is raised is who defines cultural heritage and who shares the benefits that it may offer. When unresolved, issues may bring about resistance, violence, and sometimes war. Hence, heritage can unite, but it can also divide. Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights introduced the idea that culture was an aspect of human rights, as it specifically states Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. (S&R, 4) What it does not mention is the relationship between individuals, communities, and nations, and how conflict within these should be resolved. Silverman and Ruggles say that worldwide cultural heritage is not prominent in the extensive literature on human rights, but it doesnt mean that it is an issue of little importance or social impact. The authors say heritage out to rank with issues of political expression, violence, torture, hunger and things of that sort because the concept of heritage demands that individual and group rights be protected due to the fact that heritage insists on the recognition of a person...
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- Fall '10