HS 001 Introduction to World Heritage

Year offered

Course Description

Culture and heritage establish strong and long-lasting connections between people, their societies, and the world. These links are necessary to understand our sense of belonging, our identity, and tradition. In this course, students will examine cultural heritage across the world as a multifaceted site of local and global discourses, and as a transnational asset, we all are responsible for in the present and for the future. Embracing interdisciplinary theories and knowledge from Anthropology, Architecture, Critical Heritage, Ecology, Ethnology, Geography, and Management, students will probe into the various components that define and conceptualize heritage as a cultural and political concept. Drawing from numerous examples from various cultures, nations, and contexts worldwide, students will develop an understanding of heritage in both a theoretical and operational fashion, including basic concepts in critical heritage studies and heritage preservation and management. Students will also engage with other relevant topics in international relations, human rights, economics, the environment, and globalization


  1. Course Goals and Outcomes:

Course Goals: In this remote only course, students will engage in theoretical discussions to explain the concept of heritage as a cultural process and examine the origins of the 'authorized heritage discourse' and the 'heritage industry.' Special emphasis will be given to analyzing the relationship between conflict, war, and memories and how they shape what we understand as cultural heritage. In the second part of the semester, students will focus on unpacking various cultural heritage perspectives, including the western perspective propounded by international organizations and some selected non-western approaches. Finally, in the last part of the course, students will analyze specific local and global case studies related to past and present societies and cultures to understand the differences in contexts and milieux of heritage worldwide.


Learning Outcomes and Topics: By analyzing the contemporary discourse on heritage, students will develop awareness and appreciation of cultural heritage within a globalized world related to identity, diversity, social memory, nation-building, and the excluded 'other.'

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Develop an informed understanding of contemporary cultural, social, and political issues through mastering ethical and responsible practices within the field of heritage studies (WH PLO 1).
  2. Dialogue with heritage-related disciplines to develop basic understanding of how the humanities and social sciences contribute to heritage studies (WH PLO 3).
  3. Explain and understand the role that local/global awareness, diversity and identity, sustainability, ethics, leadership and community play in the definition, protection, and management of heritage (WH PLO 4).
  4. Analyze national and international case studies focusing on societies and cultures of the past as well as of the present and explain their relationship with local and global challenges in heritage studies (WH PLO 5).