Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0498 (AF:378372 AR:208466)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
4th Term
Course year
Go to Moodle page
The course studies the boundary between heritage and ethics, politics, and social systems whit a special focus on the archaeological practice and its epistemology. This course will assess case studies from around the world, with a particular focus on colonial and post-colonial contexts.
The themes will cover the issues related to the inclusivity of heritage, indigenous archaeology, the commodification of heritage, the dissemination of archaeological data, and the possible participation of the local communities in the making of a post-modern archaeology practice.
Traditional archaeology is deeply entrapped in western value systems and epistemologies. The class will review the legislation that shapes archaeological practice, media representations of archaeology, community partnerships between archaeologists and the public, and heritage tourism. The importance of civic engagement will be highlighted as an indispensable tool for disseminating the heritage experience, considering the crucial role of “alternative” views to provide sustainability for the archaeological practice in the 21st century.
The class has two principal goals. The first is to discuss the concept of Cultural Heritage (CH) with the students and how working around CH is shaping the contemporary world. The second objective is to critically explore the questions, practices, and methods that guide the purpose of preserving and interpreting CH today. The lessons and the discussions will consider theories and arguments CH related, with a particular focus on the tangible and archaeological heritage, analyzing how these approaches are impacting modern society, our notions of history and identity, and our role in molding the future condition of CH.

Cultural Heritage can be both tangible and intangible. CH can be defined as physical manifestations of the human past that exist in the present and shape our daily life. CH encompasses the antique world, its relics, and culturally significant objects still in use. It includes artifacts (human-made) and natural items. CH also consists of the transient, the unseen, the tradition, even the edible. CH is also a profession and an academic discipline organized around the modern concept about how and why objects, buildings, landscapes, and traditions should be preserved.

The class will investigate the following matters:
- Concepts around Public Archaeology, Digital Archaeology and its impact on the public, CH and politics, CH's ethic.
- Theories around CH;
- The questions of authenticity and identity;
- The roles of public opinion and tourism industry in the protection and interpretation of CH;
- Current threats to CH (war, politics, nationalism, environmental degradation);
- International law, international organizations, and public policies;
- Recent debates about ownership, responsibility, and definitions of CH.
No particular prerequisites are expected for this class. It is desirable that students have a basic knowledge of Heritage studies. Participants need to have a specific interest in public/social use of heritage and its politcs.
Lesson 1,
Introduction. Course Schedule.
Cultural Heritage Definition. What is cultural heritage? Who protects it? From what? For whom?
- Defining Cultural Heritage.
- Who’s own the Heritage.
- Heritage / Modernity / Materiality.
- Material Heritage / Immaterial Heritage.

Lesson 2
Let’s start from Venice. The fabrication of the Venice Heritage. Venice and Unesco.
- De-colonizing the Venetian Heritage
- The making of “Venice Antiquity”
- Venice, conservation and restoration in a global perspective

Lesson 3
Histories, Memories, and Heritage. The Authorised Heritage Discourse
- The discourse of Heritage.
- Subaltern and dissenting Heritages.
- Heritage as cultural process

Lesson 4
Uses and Abuses of the Past: Politicians, Propaganda, and Nonsense
- The politic character of archaeological heritage
- Past and present propaganda.

Lesson 5
The Rules and the Manuals: Cultural Heritage Law, Principles, and Guides Today
- From laws to regulations / from practice to practitioners.
- Charters/Rules/Manuals
- “Value” in archaeology..

Lesson 6
The Politics and practice of Archaeology in conflict areas
- Protecting CH in conflicts area.
- Negative Heritage.
- Destruction/Reconstruction/Perception

Lesson 7
1945-2020: Heritage and European Identities
- National cultures, European approaches.
- Archaeology of Localities/Nationalisms/Identities.
- Funding matters: the CH policy of the EU.

Lesson 8
Digital Archaeology and CH. The ethic of Digital Heritage
- Digital Archaeology ethics.
- Open access / rights / tradition.
- Copy and paste: digital restorations.

Lesson 9
Learning Cultural Heritage playing serious games
- Videogame and archaeology.
- Modelling and communication: virtual reality heritages.

Lesson 10
What makes archaeology Public? Defining research, value and impact.
- Community-Based Participatory Research.
- Inclusive archaeology.

Lesson 11
Tourism and Presenting Cultural Heritage to the Public.
- Sustainable Heritage and Tourism.
- Archaeological heritage and Tourism.

Lesson 12
Archaeology as activism. Contemporary archaeology and its impact
- Changing world, climate change and archaeology.
- Archaeology “on the fields”: migrations/wars/famines.

Lesson 13
Democratizing archaeology: Post-colonial perspectives and Indigenous Archaeologies.
- Intangible heritages and alter-native heritages.
- Nature, Animisms and narratives: heritages without heritage.

Lesson 14
Tag it. Like it. Post it. Archaeology, heritage and social media
- Social media narratives.
- Social media communications and communicators.

Lesson 15
Cultural heritage and Climate Change
- Impacts of CH on Climate Change.
- Impacts of Climate change on CH.
Main reference books:
- R. Harrison, "Heritage. Critical Approach.", 2013, Abingdon-New York
- T. Ireland, T. Schofield (eds.), "The Ethics of Cultural Heritage", 2015, New York
- L. Meskell, "A Future in Ruins. Unesco, World Heritage, and the Dream of Peace", 2018, New York
- L. Meskell (ed), "Cosmopolitan Archaeologies", 2005, Durham (NC)
- L. Meskell, P. Peels, "Embedding Ethics", 2005, New York
- R. S. Peckham (ed.), "Rethinking Heritage. Cultures and Politics in Europe", 2003, London
- H. Rued-Cunliffe, A. Copeland (eds.), "Participatory Heritage", 2017, London
- L. Smith, "Uses of Heritage", 2006, Abingdon-New York
- A. Stille, "The Future of the Past", 2002, London
- G. Volpe, "Patrimonio al Futuro. Un Manifesto per i Beni Culturali", 2015, Milano
- S. West (ed), "Understanding Heritage in Practice", 2010, Oxford
Other resources/papers will be available in Moodle for each session. Students do not have to purchase the textbook.
All the materials, papers for personal study, and the discussion tools will be uploaded in Moodle.
The final exam will be an oral test, anyway, the final grade will be composed as such:
- Class Participation (questions/brainstorming activities/online quizzes): (20%)
- Personal class presentation of 1 selected paper: (20%)
- Oral test (Final exam): (60%)
The course will entail:
- Lectures;
- Participant's presentations;
- 1 Seminar (lesson 11), with external guests;
- Online quizzes.
- Video materials.
All the didactic materials will be available in Moodle
For any other requests, please contact
Students who can not attend at least 75% of class presentations and lectures have to contact for a personalized program.

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Cities, infrastructure and social capital" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

This programme is provisional and there could still be changes in its contents.
Last update of the programme: 01/09/2022