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The Anti-Politics of UNESCO World Heritage

We deeply cherish our natural and cultural World Heritage, so it seems; when historical monuments and sites are destroyed by war or natural disaster, we are mourning collectively. But what if this World Heritage status is not just a preservation label, but a smokescreen for social and political conflicts ?

For her PhD research, anthropologist Marlous van den Akker studied the in the late 1990s obtained World Heritage status of Mt. Kenya, an alpine area located in Central Kenya known for its unique natural features. The World Heritage Committee even classified the area as one of the most extraordinary natural landscapes of the whole of East Africa.

Yet, Van den Akker found that next to the fact that the Natural-scientific rhetoric to receive this classification underpinned the designation, it also covered up the politics at play. Read more on the Leiden Anthropology Blog:  The Anti-Politics of World Heritage.

View on Mt. Kenya

 

PhD Defence

On Wednesday 25 May 2016 at the Academy Building of Leiden University in het Academiegebouw Marlous van den Akker will defend her thesis Monument of Nature? An Ethnography of the World Heritage of Mt. Kenya.

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