Cosmopolitan Routes/Roots: Intersections of Global Heritage and Migration

On 2-4 November, the Leiden Global Interactions Research Profile will host its first annual conference at the Small Auditorium in the the Academy Building. The conference will open with a keynote lecture delivered by Professor Peter Geschiere from the University of Amsterdam.

Conference Description

Across the ages, the movements of people, things and ideas have shaped and reshaped worlds; they have built communities, inscribed landscapes, and assembled ideas and networks across the globe. In recent times, interactions between the global and local have intensified and diversified. The mobility of people, which has always been high, has become thoroughly globalised, but so have data, ideas, resources, and technologies. And such interactions have specific historical consequences in the social, political, economic and religious domains. On the one hand, many have argued that modern globalization has brought about the erosion of the nation and state-sovereignty and demands new ‘deterritorialized’ notions of citizen, home, ownership, identity, etc. On the other hand, cosmopolitan interactions have always led to the production of hybrid forms - in religious and vernacular thought, architecture, cultural practice, and so on. Both fragmentation and hybridization can lead to disorienting effects (often bringing violence and suspicion into the same orbit as emancipation and innovation) in their divisive logics that reorder structures of political recognition and power.

In the wake of such fragmentation and hybridization, people often seek to strengthen their ties to a past or identity, thereby anchoring an uncertain present or future to traditional ways and forms of life. Nations around the globe have become more concerned with regulating migrant flows and articulating and preserving their natural and cultural heritage. At the same time, illicit flows of people and goods abound and many marginalized groups have been able to transform various structural forms and policies to their advantage. Both migration and heritage have thus emerged as a both products of and imagined panaceas for the destabilizing effects of globalization.

With a particular focus on exploring the global from the point of view of the everyday, marginal, mundane and vernacular, we consider historical and modern forms of mobility (of humans and their productions) and the various social, economic and political forms and interactions they assemble or erode. Within these discussions, we also examine how groups and institutions mobilize ‘heritage’ as a strategy to deal with the pressures imposed by global economic, political and cultural flows. What interactions and expectations do heritage ideals and practice negotiate and mobilize, and how do they materialize policies of inclusion and exclusion in diverse contexts? Bringing together perspectives from history, anthropology, archaeology, area studies, literary studies, and others, this conference seeks to forefront migration and heritage as two forces implicated in the transformation of worlds and relationships, and to articulate and explore the larger globalizing issues they both engage.


Please register in advance (registration form).

Last Modified: 24-10-2011