This volume cross-examines the stability of heritage as a concept. It interrogates the past which materialises through multi-layered narratives on monuments and other objects that sustain cultural diversity. It seeks to understand how interpretations of “monuments” as “texts” are affected at the local level of experience, even as institutions such as UNESCO work to globalise and fix constructs of stable and universal heritage.

Shifting away from a largely Eurocentric concept associated with architecture and monumental archaeology, this book reassesses how local and regional heritage needs to be balanced with the global and transnational. It argues that material objects and monuments are not static embodiments of culture but are, rather, a medium through which identity, power and society are produced and reproduced. This is especially relevant in South and Southeast Asian contexts, where debates over heritage often have local, regional and national political implications and consequences.

Reevaluating how traditional valuation of monuments and cultural landscapes could help aid sustainability and long-term preservation of the heritage, this book will be useful for scholars and researchers of South and Southeast Asian history, heritage studies, archaeology, cultural studies, tourism studies and political history as well.

chapter 1|29 pages


ByHimanshu Prabha Ray

part I|78 pages

World Heritage Sites and cartographies

chapter 2|28 pages

One world, two missions

UNESCO World Heritage in the making
ByLynn Meskell

chapter 3|29 pages

Valuation of world heritage

ByIndira Rajaraman

chapter 4|19 pages

The multivalence of landscapes

Archaeology and heritage
ByUthara Suvrathan

part II|65 pages

Case studies of World Heritage Sites in India

chapter 5|18 pages

Monumentality, nature and World Heritage monuments

The rock-cut sites of Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta in Maharashtra
ByPia Brancaccio

chapter 6|27 pages

Removable heritage

Nalanda beyond the Mahavihara
BySalila Kulshreshtha

chapter 7|18 pages

The Qutub Minar complex and the village of Mehrauli

Multiple meanings in monuments
BySwapna Liddle

part III|78 pages

Transnational heritage

chapter 8|18 pages

Beyond World Heritage

Lumbinī – the creation of a more meaningful site?
ByMax Deeg

chapter 10|34 pages

Transnational heritage

Building bridges for the future
ByHimanshu Prabha Ray