The need to safeguard culture and heritage in the united states
Intangible cultural heritage pdf
At the Abu Dhabi meeting of he noted that the convention was troubled and needed attention. The Smithsonian participated in sessions with UNESCO on how to respond to issues of cultural sites, collections and traditions damaged by the earthquake and in need of aid in its aftermath. What has not been sufficiently noted in much of the discussions around preservation of tangible information in the LIS field is that much of the critical context we might wish to preserve is intangible. The UNESCO list also unfortunately demonstrates that there has been remarkably little work conducted on the preservation of intangible heritage within North America. Informed gossip at the Paris intergovernmental meetings had it that the French government was pressuring UNESCO to move quickly on the intangible cultural heritage convention so as to make way for this, more consequential treaty. A principle objective is to cooperate and coordinate our work with that of other NGOs in order to avoid duplication, as well as to conserve human and financial resources. Panelists for the discussion will be: Dr. At the session, some nation-members voted for the convention; more registered their support subsequently. Forms of indigenous and folk knowledge—of flora, of curative medicines, and regimens—nurtured by generations of local practitioners and exemplars, could be abstracted from local contexts by agents of pharmaceutical and medical companies, taken to the West, and even patented, developed and sold—with little benefit returning to the communities which nurtured such knowledge. The scope of the proposed convention also needed clarification. The intergovernmental committee and assembly had additional meetings. Importantly, intangible cultural heritage was defined, by the proposed convention as, for international purposes, consistent with human rights—so no one would be in a position of having to respect such odious cultural traditions as slavery, genocide, human trafficking or female infanticide. Despite repeated statements that the U.
This was eventually resolved, but lack of knowledge of UNESCO and its programs, and suspicion of multilateral organizations would have made it exceedingly difficult to win support of a new convention thought to be somewhat unnecessary for the U.
It formed two working groups, one to address legal and legislative matters, the other to deal with policy matters. A few weeks later, I met with U. This contribution examines one of these doctrinal assumptions: the central role given to universality within cultural heritage law, both in terms of the rhetoric used by UNESCO and other actors, as well as in international legal instruments developed to safeguard heritage.
While still regarding the treaty as flawed and lacking any enthusiasm for it, the involved State Department professionals nonetheless accepted the position statement.
Such a position was vetted through and supported by professionals involved in cultural work at the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service.
By bringing together those who collect and archive tangible artifacts that contribute to sustaining of intangible cultural heritage, scholars who study forms of intangible culture and information use, and representatives of communities which create and rely on intangible heritage, we hope to articulate a research agenda which will help provide cultural heritage institutions with the knowledge they need to better support the preservation of intangible cultural heritage.
Trade Representative had concerns about either the inadvertent or intentional misuse of the convention for intellectual property rights claims by nations. Documentary practices, while they may contribute to preservation, are not themselves preservation.
Intangible cultural heritage united states
It recognizes that all cultures give purpose and meaning to lives and thus deserve to be tolerated to the extent they do not violate human rights. If the U. It was during those meetings, presided over by Bedjaoui, through plenary and drafting sessions, and continual informal meetings and discussions among various delegations, that the actual language of the convention would be finalized. IOV publishes an extensive calender of folk festivals each year, publishes a semi-annual newsletter, maintains a web site at www. These illustrations provide a brief sketch of situations where international involvement is desirable to a certain extent. The Smithsonian put together a large-scale effort with the Haitian government and other cultural organizations, U. While there were certainly exceptions, many nations of the southern hemisphere lacked significant numbers of such physical, tangible sites. But these efforts are isolated, and in many cases, as noted by Paul Alan Cox with respect to ethnobotany, are coming too late to preserve a great deal of cultural knowledge. One issue was the definition of intangible cultural heritage. Through its scholarly journal Folk Culture, published quarterly in Bahrain and distributed to universities, libraries and cultural centers worldwide, the Commission on Scientific Research provides a forum where experts may submit for publication important works on folk art, folk culture and other topics within the domains of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The convention could be a conduit for communicating those experiences to organizations in other nations so that cultural efforts—so often disjointed from other socioeconomic initiatives—could possibly help in the arenas of health care, poverty reduction, and democracy building. By the time a threat to these cultural forms is recognized, it may be too late to save them. This was eventually resolved, but lack of knowledge of UNESCO and its programs, and suspicion of multilateral organizations would have made it exceedingly difficult to win support of a new convention thought to be somewhat unnecessary for the U. Thus, the idea of signing a treaty, as perhaps innocuous and inconsequential as that on intangible cultural heritage, was still going against the grain of U.
We believe there is a fundamental difference between preserving documentary records of intangible cultural heritage to enable scholarly understanding and preserving intangible cultural heritage itself.
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