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Sum up of Week 2

You have reached the end this second week, well done!

This week, we analysed how Europe has progressively distanced itself from a linear and univocal approach to history. Dominique Poulot explained how the profession of history was institutionalized in the 18th and 19th centuries, how museums helped to channel the European modernity discourse.

In the second half of the 20th century, there were numerous calls for the inclusion of the diverse memories of European citizens. This has influenced the way we remember and talk about the past in Europe. Today, although many stories remain to be told there is a more widespread awareness of the power dynamics behind the construction of heritage. We stressed the importance for oppressed groups to mobilize for their memory to be recognized.

Experts introduced notions to question the traditional national understanding of heritage. Jasper Chalcraft discussed the concept of contested heritage, emphasizing the conflicting understandings of the meaning of heritage in Europe. Gerard Delanty explained the idea of transnational heritage as intermingled memories. Monica Sassatelli developed the idea of cosmopolitanism, as openness to foreign cultures and described how it is implemented in the Venice Biennial.

Finally, we discussed recent developments of the European strategy to project itself in the world and the use of culture in the EU’s external action with the example of the actions developed by the European national institutes for culture (EUNIC). This illustrated how the national understanding of heritage can be challenged through an outward-looking and fostering intercultural dialogue.

Next week, we will move from the past to the present, to investigate the other domain that is essential to European cultural policies: cultural and creative industries.

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This article is from the free online course:

Cultures and Identities in Europe

European University Institute (EUI)