Heritage Politics and Identity

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 5KV705

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Conservation A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 16 April 2018
Responsible department
Department of Art History

Entry requirements

A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university

Learning outcomes

The student should, after completing the course, be able to

regarding knowledge and understanding

  • critically reflect on the contested nature of heritage and especially its political implications and discuss this through relevant concepts,
  • understand how and why heritage is shaped by and involved in politics,
  • understand and account for the complexities of cultural heritage in a global context,

regarding competence and skills

  • describe and apply various heritage discourses, and to think beyond Eurocentric definitions and accounts of cultural heritage and conservation,
  • independently collect information and material for and produce and present a short essay on a subject relevant to the theme of the course,

regarding judgement and approach

  • relate to critical approaches to heritage and its political implications, and
  • value and address different and alternative heritage practices and conceptualisations,
  • demonstrate awareness of and assess ethical issues related to identity and ethnicity in research within the field of cultural heritage and sustainability.


This course primarily involves aspects of social and cultural sustainability, and focuses on cultural heritage as a political power in relation to identity and belonging. The course provides students with a better understanding of the complex relationships of cultural heritage and people in society, especially those relationships involving authority and power. It will also provide students with tools for unpacking these complexities, through critical approaches to heritage and conservation, expressed in contemporary debates and exemplified by case studies from different parts of the world. During the course, students will encounter heritage in relation to nationalism, colonialism and postcolonialism. A special emphasis is on balancing the dominating Eurocentric material focused heritage discourse, by presenting alternative approaches to and foundations for heritage, and explore issues such as tangible and intangible heritage, identity, authenticity, ownership, and cultural and minority as well as human rights.


The course will consist of seminars, lectures and excursions. There may be an excursion outside of Gotland. Active participation in seminars, group work and excursions is compulsory. Absence from any of these will need to be compensated.


Assessment will be based on active participation in seminars and written assignments. Grades will be given in accordance with the Swedish grading system. The following grades will be used: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG).

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.