Call for Papers: The Future of Historic Cities: Challenges, Contradictions, Continuities

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10th Cambridge Heritage Seminar
The Future of Historic Cities: Challenges, Contradictions, Continuities

Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, UK
18-19 April 2009

Deadline for paper proposals: 15 November 2008 (Please see submission details here)

For the past ten years the Cambridge Heritage Seminars have brought together researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to explore the most pressing issues in heritage studies today.

For its tenth anniversary in 2009, coinciding with the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the founding of the University of Cambridge, the Cambridge Heritage Seminar will focus on cultural heritage, architecture, and the built environment in the context of a rapidly globalising and modernising world. Taking historic cities as its departure point, the seminar asks: how can urban cultural landscapes be preserved and sustained, challenged as they are by development, legislation, and commodification-and what are the reasons for and outcomes of such preservation?

As scholars such as Patrick Wright, David Lowenthal, and Laurajane Smith argue, the emergence of a heritage consciousness in modernity has depended on a complex, changing relationship not just to what the built heritage is, but how it is valued: what a community reads into the heritage and what they hope to gain from it. Aided by legal protocols that standardise heritage into readymade frameworks of historical, political and economic value, such processes take place on numerous interacting levels – the local, the national, and the international – which rarely operate in harmony. Within an urban setting, where the built environment (and its ruins) produces and is produced by a changing relationship to the past, these issues are highlighted in an immediate and unavoidable way. With this awareness, the Seminar hopes to explore the challenges, contradictions, and complexities that arise in the contemporary analysis of the historic city.
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