chapter  13
14 Pages

Heritage Landscapes, Geographical Imaginations and Material Cultures: Tracing Ulster's Past

Conventionally a rigid line of demarcation ran between the past as narrated by professional historians on the one hand, and by the heritage industry on the other. While not many historians today would subscribe to the Rankean view of history as a sequence of truths about 'how it [the past] really was' (quoted in Tunbridge and Ashworth, 1996, 6), there remains nevertheless hesitancy about awarding heritage the same status as history. History is widely perceived as the interpretation and documentation of the past based on the careful accumulation of evidence. For some heritage is no more than 'gobbets of unrelated history floating in a stew of time' (Fowler, 1994, 9) or a 're-enacted costume drama rather than critical discourse' (Hewison, 1987, 144). As best it is pap entertainment and as worst it is 'a wall built across our awareness of history, and across the links between past and present' (Ascherson quoted in Samuel, 1994, 262). Samuel (1994, 266) notes however that 'it is not the traditionalism but the modernism and more specifically the postmodernism of heritage that offends. Aesthetes condemn it for being bogus: a travesty of the past, rather than a true likeness, let alone - the preservationist's dream - an original.'