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Transcending the Culture–Nature Divide in Cultural Heritage

Transcending the Culture–Nature Divide in Cultural Heritage: Views from the Asia–Pacific region

Sally Brockwell
Sue OʹConnor
Denis Byrne
Series: Terra Australis
Volume: 36
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Transcending the Culture–Nature Divide in Cultural Heritage
    Book Description:

    While considerable research and on-ground project work focuses on the interface between Indigenous/local people and nature conservation in the Asia-Pacific region, the interface between these people and cultural heritage conservation has not received the same attention. This collection brings together papers on the current mechanisms in place in the region to conserve cultural heritage values. It will provide an overview of the extent to which local communities have been engaged in assessing the significance of this heritage and conserving it. It will address the extent to which management regimes have variously allowed, facilitated or obstructed continuing cultural engagement with heritage places and landscapes, and discuss the problems agencies experience with protection and management of cultural heritage places.

    eISBN: 978-1-922144-05-8
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Biographies
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. Introduction: Engaging culture and nature
    (pp. 1-12)
    Denis Byrne, Sally Brockwell and Sue OʹConnor

    This volume began life as a session at the 2010 Australian Archaeological Conference on the cultural heritage of protected areas in the Asia-Pacific region. Our particular concern was with the proposition that the discourse of nature conservation was predisposed to a vision of protected areas (in the form of national parks and other ‘nature’ reserves) as pristine nature. According to such a vision, protected areas represent wildernesses that, having escaped the ravages of human exploitation, had now to be preserved as the last reservoirs of biodiversity on a planet threatened with ecological disaster. To what extent, we asked, did such...

  5. 1 Nature and culture in World Heritage management: A view from the Asia-Pacific (or, never waste a good crisis!)
    (pp. 13-22)
    Ian Lilley

    The gulf between natural and cultural World Heritage management in the Asia-Pacific region – and indeed right around the world – remains wide. This situation obtains from the top to the bottom of the World Heritage (WH) system and persists despite the now well-worn arguments against it and despite continual if still somewhat fitful efforts to find a remedy. Taking a broad view of what we call ‘management’ to encompass everything upstream, during and downstream of a nomination, this chapter¹ discusses the background to the issue, the current positions on the matter of UNESCO, ICOMOS and IUCN,² and what might...

  6. 2 Customary systems of management and World Heritage in the Pacific Islands
    (pp. 23-34)
    Anita Smith and Cate Turk

    In recent decades local communities have been increasingly engaged in protecting heritage sites through the development of new models of conservation practice, such as co-management, joint management and community management. Our interest in heritage conservation in the Pacific leads us to examine a related form of management arrangement, customary management. In this paper we examine how systems of customary land tenure prevalent throughout the region require a method for establishing and managing heritage fundamentally different to that employed in the Yellowstone model of state-managed protected areas, or the co-management of Indigenous landscapes such as that of Uluru-Kata Tjuta in Australia....

  7. 3 Poetics and politics: Bikini Atoll and World Heritage Listing
    (pp. 35-52)
    Steve Brown

    It is strange the way that ‘bikini’ simultaneously references nuclear test site and itsy-bitsy bathing costume. Yet the two are intimately connected –le bikiniwas revealed at a public pool in Paris on 5 July 1946, four days after the globally publicised Able Atomic Test explosion was unleashed at Bikini Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands (Figure 1). The atoll’s name was appropriated forle bikini, a garment promoted as a vision of thevestiges(meaning traces, remnants or relics in French) of clothing that would remain after experiencing an atomic explosion (Cameron 1970 in Davis 2005a:615–616). Ironically,...

  8. 4 Nature and culture in a global context: A case study from World Heritage Listed Komodo National Park, eastern Indonesia
    (pp. 53-64)
    Sandra Pannell

    As the title suggests, the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage enshrines one of the most pervasive dualisms in Western thought – that of nature and culture (MacCormack and Strathern 1980).¹ The 936 properties currently inscribed on the World Heritage List are identified as either ‘natural’, ‘cultural’, or as ‘mixed’ heritage.² Although the Convention provides ‘definitions’ and ‘guidelines’ regarding natural and cultural properties, it is clear from a comparative analysis of a number of World Heritage sites that the values ascribed to nature and culture are not a global given. Nor is it...

  9. 5 Changing perspectives on the relationship between heritage, landscape and local communities: A lesson from Borobudur
    (pp. 65-82)
    Daud A. Tanudirjo

    The grandeur of Borobudur has fascinated almost every visitor who views it. Situated in the heart of the island of Java in Indonesia, this remarkable stone structure is considered to be the most significant Buddhist monument in the Southern Hemisphere (Figure 1). In 1991, Borobudur was inscribed on the World Heritage List, together with two other smaller stone temples, Pawon and Mendut. These three stone temples are located over a straight line of about three kilometres on an east-west orientation, and are regarded as belonging to a single temple complex (Figure 2). Known as the Borobudur Temple Compound, this World...

  10. 6 Being on Country: Githabul approaches to mapping culture
    (pp. 83-100)
    Nick McClean

    With a general rise in interest in cultural mapping over recent decades, this chapter¹ discusses two approaches to recording and mapping Indigenous cultural relations to land employed by Githabul people in NE NSW. Mapping scope and methods in this project were developed with participants, revealing their particular views and situations. These approaches are explored, and I argue that the idea of being on Country, a common element of the two approaches, forms a key aspect of maintaining a shared cultural identity within the Githabul community. This influences perceptions of the value of mapping culture, while also opening heritage work up...

  11. 7 Exploring the role of archaeology within Indigenous natural resource management: A case study from Western Australia
    (pp. 101-116)
    David Guilfoyle, Myles Mitchell, Cat Morgan, Harley Coyne and Vernice Gillies

    For Indigenous archaeology, an important measure of ‘success’ within any project is the level of control and ownership embedded with the local Traditional Owner community. If control/ownership is tokenistic, short-term, or undeveloped, archaeological research outcomes remain limited by default – in the understanding that Indigenous heritage management is linked to community identity and wellbeing, and requires delivery under customary practice/protocols. Any level of archaeological research – whether community, research or commercial – requires systems to ensure Traditional Owners are in control of all facets of project development, implementation, and reporting, at the level and context that they demand.

    This paper...

  12. 8 Traim tasol … Cultural heritage management in Papua New Guinea
    (pp. 117-128)
    Tim Denham

    In this chapter, I discuss a range of issues associated with cultural heritage management practice in Papua New Guinea today. I build my discussion around three different types of cultural resource management project that I have undertaken. These increase in complexity, scale and scope. First, I describe a community heritage project among the Kalam of the Simbai Valley, Madang Province. Second, I raise several issues associated with the World Heritage nomination of the Kuk Early Agricultural Site. Third, I make some generalised observations on the expanding commercial cultural heritage management sector. The first two sections are highly specific, whereas the...

  13. 9 Hierarchies of engagement and understanding: Community engagement during archaeological excavations at Khao Toh Chong rockshelter, Krabi, Thailand
    (pp. 129-140)
    Ben Marwick, Rasmi Shoocongdej, Cholawit Thongcharoenchaikit, Boonyarit Chaisuwan, Chaowalit Khowkhiew and Suengki Kwak

    In this chapter we present a case study showing an explicit strategy for local community engagement at an archaeological excavation in southern Thailand. We show how we tailored our approach to engagement to suit different sections of the local community. Our experience and strategies are probably familiar to many archaeologists working in the Southeast Asian region who have independently converged on similar approaches. We review the history of cultural heritage management in Thailand and show that while government policy has focussed resources on tourism at monumental sites, academic work has been most progressive in pioneering local community engagement at archaeological...

  14. 10 Local heritage and the problem with conservation
    (pp. 141-156)
    Anna Karlström

    In a recently published book on South African heritage, Lynn Meskell suggests that nature protection and conservation predicts all discussions of the cultural past and that the overlapping discourses of natural and cultural heritages are dominated by the natural, reflected in contemporary biodiversity and conservation politics (2012:4, 100). As these discourses are intertwined and difficult to separate from each other, I believe that current debates within cultural heritage conservation politics can also, and reversely, be used to enrich nature conservation discussions. Therefore, the focus for this article is not exactly a formally Protected Area regulated by law or guarded by...

  15. 11 The WCPAʹs Natural Sacred Sites Taskforce: A critique of conservation biologyʹs view of popular religion
    (pp. 157-170)
    Denis Byrne

    The environmental anthropologist, Anna Tsing (2005:12), refers to modern-day nature conservation as a form of ‘globally circulating knowledge’. In this chapter I focus on the way local religious systems have attracted the interest of conservation biologists who have come to see that in many parts of the world – and their attention is particularly on the developing world – religious beliefs and practices turn out to have ‘conservation outcomes’ (e.g. Verschuuren 2007; Mallarach 2008; Wild and McLeod 2008; Verschuuren and Wild 2010). These take the form of sites and landscapes which, primarily because of their religious significance to particular cultural...

  16. 12 Sacred places in Ussu and Cerekang, South Sulawesi, Indonesia: Their history, ecology and pre-Islamic relation with the Bugis kingdom of Luwuq
    (pp. 171-190)
    David Bulbeck

    This contribution describes and analyses the sacred places in the environs of the ‘land where the gods descended’ (Reid 1990)—the twin villages of Ussu and Cerekang in East Luwu, South Sulawesi. Ussu and Cerekang were the focus of several months of fieldwork for the ‘Origin of Complex Society in South Sulawesi’ (OXIS) project undertaken by anthropologists, archaeologists and historians (Darmawanet al1999; Bulbeck and Caldwell 2000; Fadillah and Sumantri 2000). OXIS project members documented the setting and vegetation of the Ussu and Cerekang sacred places, archaeological sites and landscape use in their vicinity, and local understanding of how...

  17. 13 Cultural heritage and its performative modalities: Imagining the Nino Konis Santana National Park in East Timor
    (pp. 191-202)
    Andrew McWilliam

    In East Timor the struggle for national independence was hard won and required a unity of shared purpose from the broad community of resistance. Part of the task of sustaining that sense of unity in the post-independence Democratic Republic of Timor Leste is the imaginative work of commemorative symbols that enjoin citizens within a common narrative of nation. My paper looks at one such commemorative symbol: the establishment in 2007¹ of the Nino Konis Santana National Park in the densely forested eastern portion of the island. The legislation creates the first National Park in an independent Timor-Leste and carries with...

  18. 14 The dynamics of culture and nature in a ʹprotectedʹ Fataluku landscape
    (pp. 203-234)
    Sue OʹConnor, Sandra Pannell and Sally Brockwell

    In his work on ‘Landscape and Memory’, the historian Simon Schama reminds us that ‘landscape is the work of the mind. Its scenery is built up as much from strata of memory as from layers of rock’ (1995:7). Focusing upon those elemental physical features evident in the Western landscape tradition, namely wood, water, and rock, Schama examines the layers of social memory and visual representation, to reveal the many historical associations and varied cultural meanings of ‘natural’ objects and places. In the history of protected area management, most notably exemplified by the 1972 World Heritage Convention, the idea of ‘heritage’...

  19. Index
    (pp. 235-242)