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What is heritage? This free course will introduce you to the concept of heritage and its critical study, exploring the role of heritage in both past and contemporary societies.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- understand the global scope of heritage
- understand the ‘material’ and ‘non-material’ aspects of heritage
- recognise heritage as a ‘process’ as well as a ‘product’ of certain activities in the present
- recognise heritage studies as a specific field of study
- understand the idea of the authorised heritage discourse (AHD).
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Introducing heritage
- 2 Explaining heritage
- 3 ‘There is no such thing as heritage’
- 4 What does heritage do?
- 5 Themes in heritage studies
- 6 Conclusion
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
What is heritage?
This course introduces the concept of heritage and examines its various uses in contemporary society. It then provides a background to the development of critical heritage studies as an area of academic interest, and in particular the way in which heritage studies has developed in response to various critiques of contemporary politics and culture in the context of deindustrialisation, globalisation and transnationalism. Drawing on a case study in the official documentation surrounding the Harry S. Truman Historic Site in Missouri, USA, it describes the concept of authorised heritage discourses (AHD) in so far as they are seen to operate in official, state-sanctioned heritage initiatives.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 2 study in.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Heritage courses or view the range of currently available OU Heritage courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 28th July 2016
Last updated on: Thursday, 28th July 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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