Heritage as resilience: the role of minority communities in post-war Sri Lanka

Melathi Saldin, Ezra (2018) Heritage as resilience: the role of minority communities in post-war Sri Lanka. In: ICOMOS 19th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium "Heritage and Democracy", 13-14th December 2017, New Delhi, India. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract (in English)

The surge in conflicts on a global scale has resulted in protection and reconstruction of heritage emerging as an important but highly challenging concept in the 21st century. Post-war nations such as Sri Lanka, therefore, are at a critical juncture both in terms of post-conflict recovery and reconciliation. As a country emerging from civil war, heritage constitutes a vital aspect of the island’s national identity as well as its emotional, political, and economic landscape. Sri Lanka’s post-war period however, has witnessed an escalation in violence against other ethno-religious minorities, particularly the island’s Muslim community, with heritage-centred contestations questioning their legitimacy, belonging and citizenship. These developments are particularly significant as the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC)2 identified heritage contestation between different ethnic groups as an obstacle to the path of reconciliation. To date, much of the popular and scholarly debates on the politics of Sri Lankan heritage have dealt with the sociopolitical entanglements of heritage pertaining to the majority ethnic group the Sinhalese and its largest minority, the Tamils, rendering the heritage of other ethno-religious minorities less visible within mainstream heritage narratives. Much of these scholarly debates also focus on these issues through lenses of dissonance, destruction, and disputes. A framework of heritage/ cultural resilience opens up productive avenues from which to explore these complex entanglements. Within wider arguments of democratizing heritage in a post-war context, this paper aims to explore the significance heritage or cultural resilience of minority ethno-religious communities, paying close attention to how an ethnically diverse religious minority such as the Sri Lankan Muslims utilise heritage as a means for building resilience and communal wellbeing within the process of post-war reconciliation.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Melathi Saldin, Ezra
Languages: English
Keywords: post-war; heritage resilience; minorities; religion; ethnies; muslim; cultural heritage; recovery; reconciliation; identity; dispute; Sri Lanka
Subjects: E.CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 09. Social and economic aspects of conservation
N.ANTHROPOLOGY > 03. Ethnology
National Committee: ICOMOS International
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 19th General Assembly, New Delhi, 2017
Depositing User: intern icomos
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2018 10:03
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2019 14:55
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URI: https://openarchive.icomos.org/id/eprint/1982

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