Heritage-Boom: On Culture and Nature in the Americas (Introduction)

Olaf Kaltmeier, Bielefeld University
Wilfried Raussert, Bielefeld University

Arguably every human society engages in practices of memory in order to build identity and belonging. If autobiographical memory reconstructs life events, cultural memory can be understood as the communal effort to retrace the supposed original state or form of a cultural event or cultural object, or in extended terms a natural event or natural object. Such act of restoration is a discursive construct that involves processes of discovery, selection, imagination, and reconstruction. Cultural memory refers to communal conceptions of heritage and history, and thus to more public forms of narrative such as museum narratives, documentary films, national park narratives, published histories in a popular or academic vein among others. Cultural memory also consists in oral histories that members of a community share with each other.

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