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Polarized Pasts: Heritage and Political Polarization in Europe and the United States

This international workshop seeks to confront the pasts unfolding right now. Over the last decade, political movements on the alt-, hard- and far right have come to characterize their mission as a ‘cultural struggle’, claiming that the majority is threatened by and cannot co-exist with other social categories. In doing so, many have seized on the potential of heritage as a vehicle to display dissatisfaction with the present. Meanwhile, conflicting voices draw on heritage as evidence for diversity and a means to achieve social justice. And so, in the wake of European crises and growing polarization in US politics, we find heritage used as leverage for calls to both halt and embrace immigration, to both resist and further globalization. To better understand the role of the past in this polarized present, and to identify relevant questions and ways forward, the workshop draws on the unique insights of archaeologists, anthropologists, classicists, and social scientists from Europe and the US.

Event program


Reinhard Bernbeck (Free University of Berlin)

Chiara de Cesari (University of Amsterdam)

Chip Colwell (Denver Museum of Nature & Science)

Alfredo González-Ruibal (Spanish National Research Council)

Johanna Hanink (Brown University)

Michael Herzfeld (Harvard University)

Herdis Hølleland (Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage)

Anna Källén (Stockholm University)

Cathrine Moe Thorleifsson (University of Oslo)

Elisabeth Niklasson (Stanford University)

Donna Zuckerberg (editor-in-chief of Eidolon)

Sat March 2nd 2019, 10:00am - 3:30pm

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Archaeology Center
Event Sponsor
Humanities Center, Department of Art & Art History, McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, CREEES Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, Department of French and Italian, Department of Classics, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Archaeology Center, Department of Anthropology, IRiSS
Contact Phone Number
Reinhard Bernbeck
Chiara de Cesari
Chip Colwell
Anna Källén
Johanna Hanink
Michael Herzfeld
Herdis Hølleland
Alfredo González-Ruibal
Cathrine Moe Thorleifsson
Elisabeth Niklasson
Donna Zuckerberg