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'Red Listing' Heritage: Endangerment as Policy and Collective Action

Goodwin, Scott

Scholarship is increasingly critical of 𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 as a sensibility and a discursive device that shapes cultural heritage and its preservation. But recent academic calls for abandoning endangerment- and loss-oriented heritage practice have tended to overlook the complex ways that endangerment functions as a tool, and one that is used by institutions and publics alike. Endangerment listing programs for heritage have emerged over the past half-century as a distinct policy tool and one of the key ways that categories of endangerment are defined and reproduced. By moving beyond analyses of these programs as rhetoric or discourse, and by reframing recent discussions of “heritage at risk” in terms of policy and collective action, so-called heritage “red lists” become recognizable as mechanisms through which institutions and multiple publics dynamically construct endangerment to achieve varied outcomes in practice. Using red list programs as case studies, this paper explores the ways that contemporary list facilitators and list users negotiate and mobilize endangerment, and to what particular ends. It argues that endangerment as heritage policy functions not only as a tool of institutions, experts, and heritage professionals, but also as a means through which communities define and redefine notions of themselves. Despite a growing suspicion of endangerment within critical heritage discourse, this research suggests how endangerment might serve productive roles in policy and practice.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Avrami, Erica C.
Degree
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
August 10, 2020