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Course | Workshop

Asia Research cluster workshop: collaborative research and stakeholder interaction

Monday 27 November 2023
Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden

The session will start with a presentation by dr. Zahra Hussain (IIAS) on 'Heritage Cosmopolitics: bringing worlds together apart.’ Following her presentation, we will have a discussion with her about her work, focusing on stakeholder involvement in research projects. In the second part of the workshop, we will with colleagues of the digitalisation cluster discuss the website Fragile Heritage which Zahra has created in the context of the research conducted. 

About this talk

Heritage cosmopolitics attends to the processes through which objects and places acquire value and significance and in so doing unearths the ways in which worlds are ordered. I explore this through Isabelle Stengers ‘cosmopolitical proposal’ (2005) which draws our attention to the politics involved in composing and representation of the world, which in this case is the articulation of heritage through particular knowledge making practices. Based in the Hindu Kush Himalaya mountain region, my research explores the multiple and conflicting articulations of heritage as it is produced, valued and negotiated by different stakeholders such the local communities, the government and heritage management institutions. This opens up important questions for the region; not only in terms of how a past is claimed and narrated in the present but also how futures are envisioned, especially as placed are re-imagined and reinstated amidst large infrastructural development and climate change. I will elaborate three instances from our research collaborations centering upon heritage in the HKH region (via Laajverd) that attempt to bring potentially conflicting worlds in a dialogue in hopes of crafting more just and relatable futures.

Bio Zahra Hussain

Zahra Hussain (PhD Durham, 2019) is an Architect and Human Geographer based in Pakistan. Her research focuses on heritage and architecture particularly in the mountain landscapes of Northern Pakistan. She leads the Academy for Democracy project that is a cross curricular and interdisciplinary program exploring forms of engagement with changing landscapes. She has written the book ‘Mountain Architecture Guidelines’ and drafted building bye- laws and codes for the protection of the built environment in Kalash Valley, KPK in north-western region of Pakistan. Currently, she is a visiting fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS) in the Netherlands where she is writing about ‘heritage cosmopolitics’ as a way of approaching contemporary mountainous Asia. 

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