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Heritage and the Present Past
Heritage and the present past

We are all too inclined as Lowenthal observes to populate the past with people like ourselves, pursuing the same aims and responding with similar feelings, albeit dressed up in different cultural costumes … Whether the concern is with people of the past or of the present, otherness is here reduced to the cosmetic variety of consumer choice …

(Ingold 1996: 204)

My chosen point of departure for this chapter is a debate which took place between the historian David Lowenthal and a group of anthropologists the proposition of which was: ‘Is the past a foreign country?’ This theme was prompted by a book written by Lowenthal, which is oft-cited as the foundational text of the heritage studies canon. ...

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