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What is heritage?

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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.

This unit will:

  • introduce you to the global scope of heritage
  • introduce you to the ‘material’ and ‘non-material’ aspects of heritage
  • develop your awareness of heritage as a ‘process’ as well as a ‘product’ of certain activities in the present
  • introduce you to heritage studies as a specific field of study
  • introduce you to the idea of the authorised heritage discourse (AHD).

By: The Open University

  • Duration 10 hours
  • Updated Monday 31st March 2014
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under Heritage
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What is heritage?


Unit image

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 Arts and Humanities [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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