Lecture Prof. Keir Reeves: Heritage, History and Politics: A Global Perspective – Utrecht, 17 September 2019

Lecture Prof. Keer Reives: Heritage, History and Politics: A Global Perspective


Date and time: 17 September 2019, 18.15 – 19.15h.

Location: Drift 25, room 002, Utrecht University

Organisers: The heritage and public history lab and the CHEurope Marie Curie ITN



This talk examines the nexus between heritage, history and politics. It will consider a number of global examples and discuss the changing uses of heritage over time. As cultural historian John Gillis has observed, memory is as central to modern politics as politics is central to modern memory. The idea of contested memory provides one way of explaining interpretations of the past and management of heritage sites in the present day. Yet a tension emerges as history is a discipline that studies the past, whereas heritage is the constructed depiction of the past in the present day usually understood through built and intangible forms. While they are often spoken of as having an intellectual commonality in terms of their concern with understanding the past, methodologically history and heritage are increasingly odd bed-fellows. Yet both history and heritage have, and continue to be, deployed for political purposes and directly influence the ways that communities and, for that matter, nation states remember the past.

Professor Keir Reeves currently holds a research chair of at Federation University Australia. His previous principal teaching and research positions at the University of Melbourne and Monash have been in global cultural heritage, cultural tourism and History. His professional positions include an Australian Research Council (ARC) Postdoctoral Fellowship Industry at the University of Melbourne, a five-year Monash Fellowship (later Senior Monash Fellowship) as well as Chief Investigator roles on five ARC Projects. Keir’s publications include co-editing Places of Pain and Shame: Dealing with ‘difficult heritage’ (Routledge, 2009). He also contributed to the Bruce Scates-led Anzac Journeys: Walking the battlefields of the Second World War (Cambridge University Press, 2013), that was shortlisted for the 2014 Australian Historical Association Ernest Scott Prize. In 2019 he is a visiting fellow to the Centre for the Humanities.