Towards World Heritage: International Origins of the Preservation Movement 1870-1930

1st Edition

Melanie Hall

Routledge
Published September 9, 2016
Reference - 304 Pages
ISBN 9781138274990 - CAT# Y315432

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Summary

Historic preservation, whether of landscapes or buildings, was an important development of the nineteenth century in many countries. There is however surprisingly little understanding about how it took place, and research into it is narrowly focused. For example, generally landscape preservation from this time is examined separately from buildings; preservation is seen in terms of national narratives, or considered within the contexts of area studies, and it is usually seen from a specific disciplinary perspective. All of these later categorizations did not apply at the time and consequently, a very partial view is achieved. In order to begin unlocking a very complex phenomenon that has helped to define our own age, this dynamic collection of essays brings together an international and transdisciplinary line-up of academics and practitioners to reconsider preservation's origins in the second half of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century. With a focus on Britain and the British Empire, and including case studies from the United States, Canada, Sweden, France, Germany, Sri Lanka, 'The Holy Land', and Turkey, this book places preservation in imperial, international, and national contexts, demonstrating that there was far more interaction between different countries in this arena than may be supposed and revealing remarkable but hitherto hidden overlaps and intersections. It examines three main themes: the influence of religion; the political and sub-diplomatic aspects of preservation; and the professionalization of preservation practice. Internationalizing trends already existed through the churches, the universities, and the diplomatic services, as well as familial ties that had an important impact on preservation's epistemic communities and its targets. Other internationalizing factors include an interest in national histories and the histories of architecture and art, particularly when known through illustration; a growing interest in biography especially of 'founding fathers' or famous literary figures; and tourism. Although the focus is on architectural preservation, this book demonstrates that, in this formative period, the preservation of buildings and landscapes needs to be considered together - as it often was at the time - and in context. The conclusion reached is that the preservation movement has to be understood in imperial and international contexts, rather than in simply national or regional ones.

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