Heritage-making is a process whereby the objects and customs from the past are represented and displayed often in the name of preservation; thereof, generating a display of culture firmly rooted in place. My research revisits the notion of heritage-making by considering cultural heritage as a contested terrain through which national and transnational networks of power are enforced. By partaking in twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork in a Dong ethnic minority village on the World Heritage Site tentative list in Guizhou province, southern China, my research objectives are how are the Dong represented through cultural heritage and for what motivations, and how is this is translated onto the global stage by international heritage preservation agencies. Ethnographic research will consist of formal and informal interviews with local villagers, tourists, heritage specialists and county-level Cultural Bureau officials; social demographic surveys combined with GIS mapping; detailed participant observation; documentary sources; and relevant white paper documents. To fulfil my research objectives I will work alongside Peking University academics and students, international heritage specialists and officials from county level government administrations working collaboratively on the heritage project. My thesis furthers discussions on how culture is understood and spatialized through the process of national and global heritage-making, and builds on understandings of the ‘global hierarchy of values’ (Herzfeld 2004) constructed through international heritage schemes with detailed analysis to convey the relevance China and Chinese culture has in partaking in it.
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