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People, Place, Heritage

People, Place, Heritage

Relationships between people, place and the past shape our experience of what it is to be human in the present. The People, Place, Heritage stream supports research from diverse humanities and social science perspectives to address questions of how these relationships change across space, time and material form.

Stream Convenors

Dr Victoria Stead

Victoria is an anthropologist whose work also has an interdisciplinary focus, engaging cognate areas of politics, geography, development studies, history, and postcolonial studies.

Dr Virginie Rey

Virginie’s areas of specialty include Non-Western museologies; community museums; unofficial forms of heritage; practices; diasporic heritage; Middle East and North Africa; Islamic art.

Our Research

Our relationships to the places in which we live face distinctive and unprecedented challenges as a result of diverse impacts of accelerated climate change and globalisation. According to a growing body of compelling scholarship, we must examine the centuries-long global expansion of Empire and related settler colonial dispossession of indigenous peoples in order to understand fundamental contemporary dilemmas. Resulting contests over ownership, sovereignty, occupation, and restitution, and related challenges of coexistence and belonging continue unabated to the present.

Changes in the nature of work as a result of de-industrialisation, globalisation, and technological transformations impact greatly at the level of neighbourhoods, cities and regions. The re-conceptualisation of relationships between nature and culture, regimes of management, and place-based cultural practices and forms of knowledge are vital concerns. Attention to macro level processes informs research on how people dwell and work in places on a more intimate scale.

Questions of how the past shapes human experience in the present are explored through attention to gender, material and visual culture, memory, memorialisation and oral history, the senses, colonial and other archives and their manifestations in public histories, in the work of collecting institutions, and creative practices of placemaking.

Key research questions

Some of the key questions that animate our members include:

  • How are unresolved contests over sovereignty, recognition and social justice shaping debates about the future of Australia and our region?
  • What are the fault lines of belonging and coexistence in settler colonial contexts and how are these diversely navigated by individuals, communities and governments?
  • How does attention to historical relationships through the prism of cultural heritage inform dilemmas of the present?
  • How are processes of technological change, globalisation and shifting economies transforming experiences of work and how do these transformations impact on neighbourhoods, cities and regions?
  • At a time of global instability and uncertainty, what concepts, methods, and theoretical perspectives enable the most compelling interpretations of relationships between people and places?

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