Ewa Klekot, born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1965. Ph. D. from Warsaw University. Assistant Professor at the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at Warsaw University.
Visiting Grant Scholar (1 April 2005 – 30 Juni 2005)
MONUMENTS OF NATIONAL HERITAGE: BETWEEN POLITICS AND TOURISM
My research at NIAS from 1 April – 30 June 2005 investigated the social construction of national heritage monuments and focused on developing the general theoretical approach to the notion of national heritage understood as a symbol of community. I also worked on the concepts of “belonging”, “ownership” and “property” of national heritage monuments, theoretically addressed in relation to the problem of so-called displaced cultural property, especially the cases of “national cultural treasures”. A common past is one of the strong community-creating factors and the ways this past is represented, publicly exposed and perceived are crucial to understanding a community. Inventing a common past is one of the strategies by which communities legitimise themselves. I have come to define “heritage” as a body of past things used to legitimise the community of “heirs”. The way that visitors of national heritage monuments become “heirs” and experience their community seems the key to understanding the “invented community” of nation. I focused also on authenticity as the principal value ascribed to the heritage monuments by the visitors and the way that value is socially constructed in the context of their heritage experience. In order to apply the categories of “belonging”, “ownership” and “property” in relation to cultural goods, especially those considered part of any “national heritage” I have made a study of legal solutions concerning the protection and restitution of heritage monuments in order to reach a clearer understanding of contemporary legal practices.