“Heritage occurs in a larger context of identity formation” – Conversation with Annalisa Butticci and Birgit Meyer

Birgit Meyer and  Annalisa Butticci (both University of Utrecht) discuss the idea of heritage in a larger context of identity formation. Giving examples of their fieldwork Butticci and Meyer show the complex entangelement of political, social, cultural and religious issues concerning heritage and ask: What does it mean to designate an object or aesthetic practice as cultural heritage or even as cultural treasure? How is the situation of heritage and culture in Ghana?

The conversation took place in the frame of the Annual Conference “Making, Sustaining, Breaking – The Politics Of Heritage And Culture”, October 12-14, 2016 in Heidelberg. The conference was a collaborative enterprise of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” at Heidelberg University, the Forum Transregionale Studien, the Max Weber Stiftung- Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland, and the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin.

Birgit Meyer is Professor of Religious Studies at Utrecht University and member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Forum Transregionale Studien. Trained as a cultural anthropologist and working on lived religion in Ghana for more than 20 years, she studies religion from a global and post-secular perspective. Her research is driven by an urge to make sense of the shifting place and role of religion in our time, and to show that scholarly work in the field of religion is of eminent concern to understanding the shape of our world in the early 21st century. In so doing, she seeks to synthesize grounded fieldwork and theoretical reflection in a broad multidisciplinary setting.Her main research foci are the rise and popularity of global Pentecostalism; religion, popular culture and heritage; religion and media; religion and the public sphere; religious visual culture, the senses and aesthetics.

Annalisa Butticci is Assistant Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Utrecht. She was Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices Fellow in 2015/2016. Annalisa Butticci received her MA from the University of Padua, and her PhD from the Catholic University of Milan, Italy. She was post-doctoral fellow in the department of Social and Cultural Analysis of New York University and Marie Curie fellow at Harvard Divinity School and the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Utrecht University. Her areas of research include visual and material culture of religions, religious aesthetics and politics, and religions and societies of West Africa and African diasporas (with a special focus on Ghana and Nigeria).

The interview was conducted by Stefanie Rentsch (Forum Transregionale Studien).


Stefanie Rentsch

Dr. Stefanie Rentsch ist wissenschaftliche Referentin am Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin und leitet dort den Bereich Publikationen und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit. Blogs: trafo.hypotheses.org, academies.hypotheses.org Stefanie Rentsch is head of publications and communication at the Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin. Blogs: trafo.hypotheses.org, academies.hypotheses.org

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