Recuperating ruins, re-inscribing identity: Royal citadels and state mosques in re- ‘heritagization’ projects in Melaka, Palembang and Makassar.

Tajudeen, Imran bin (2008) Recuperating ruins, re-inscribing identity: Royal citadels and state mosques in re- ‘heritagization’ projects in Melaka, Palembang and Makassar. In: 16th ICOMOS General Assembly and International Symposium: ‘Finding the spirit of place – between the tangible and the intangible’, 29 sept – 4 oct 2008, Quebec, Canada. [Conference or Workshop Item]


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Abstract (in English)

Melaka, Palembang and Makassar are historic port-polities in Malaya, Sumatra and Sulawesi in the Nusantara region, or the Austronesian portion of Southeast Asia, which reached their apogee in the 15th to 18th centuries. Their monumental cores were expunged, partially or completely, and appropriated or abandoned during the period of European colonial conquest and rule. This paper will review and compare the attempts since the late 20th century to recuperate these ruins or altered sites. Architectural and cultural projects have been implemented on these sites and monuments that seek to reinscribe their spirit of place with contemporary historical signification or valorization. Such reinscriptions involve aligning both tangible and intangible heritage to conceptions of local identity that are being promoted for specific reasons. In particular, restorations or new constructions of state mosques replicate and accentuate what are perceived to be distinctive ‘local’ styles or forms, while the ubiquitous combination of open-air replica museums, ethnographic exhibits and cultural festivals in former royal citadels is primarily geared towards the prominent display of cultural symbols. These strategies reveal contemporary understandings of, and the endeavors to celebrate or recreate, ‘local cultural legacies’ which (re)shape the spirit of place of historically significant sites. Local authorities and sources of funding often decide what gets emphasized as ‘memory of place’, what is protected or altered, and therefore how spirit of place is manipulated. Thus, while the projects to valorize heritage sites are often initiated by cultural activists, they become inevitably altered by the priorities of cultural tourism and political-economic considerations of regional identity. As such, the re-inscription of recovered heritage sites and artifacts – the process of re-‘heritagization’ – are shown to be determined by larger forces which prioritize the utility of heritage in revenue generation and, ultimately, the transmission and projection of accentuated conceptions of identity.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Tajudeen, Imran bin
Languages: English
Keywords: historic cities; ports; identity; memory of place; archaeological heritage; historic monuments; spirit of place
Subjects: O.INTANGIBLE HERITAGE > 01. Generalities
H.HERITAGE TYPOLOGIES > 03. Archaeological sites
H.HERITAGE TYPOLOGIES > 09. Historic buildings
H.HERITAGE TYPOLOGIES > 12. Historic towns and villages
Name of monument, town, site, museum: Melaka, Palembang and Makassar, Indonesia
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 2008, 16th
Depositing User: Jose Garcia
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2010 11:31
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2011 19:13

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