Seminar Contested Heritage, Museum Collections and Public Space

Start date
End date
National Museum of Antiquities (a.o)

The Centre for Global Heritage and Development together with the Museums, Collections and Society Chairgroup (Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University) organize a two day seminar on the topic of contested heritage.

Many heritage and museum discussions are now centred around contested heritage. Various (minority) groups appropriate heritage and collections, and sometimes even tend to monopolize the discussion about rightful ownership, use and location. These sentiments run contrary to the dominant discourse of the 19th and 20th centuries, in which western scholars were seen as beholding the ‘ultimate truth’ in interpreting heritage and collections.

The seminar aims to address the causes, effects and societal circumstances of the debates on appropriation, ownership and restitution of heritage.

The presentations and discussions will take place on the 23rd and 24th of September 2021, in Leiden. It is likely that we will have to choose for a hybrid approach, partly real-life, partly digital. The idea is that at least all speakers are present in Leiden. The program, including speakers and exact locations and dates, will be communicated at a later stage.

As a framework we propose to address the subject of contested heritage in terms of identity, resentment and ownership.


Francis Fukuyama – Identity. Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition, 2018.