International Winter School
“CLAIMS_2023 – Claims and counterclaims over natural and cultural heritage”

February 27th to March 3rd, 2023
Heidelberg, Germany
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CLAIMS_2023 is organized by the Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies (HCIAS) and the Max-Weber-Institute of Sociology (MWI) of Heidelberg University, Germany. The winter school is funded by the Flagship Initiative “Transforming Cultural Heritage” of Heidelberg University’s Excellence Strategy.
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Applications are now open until November 23rd, 2022

“CLAIMS_2023. Claims and counterclaims over natural and cultural heritage” is an International Winter School for doctoral students and advanced master’s students of the humanities and the social sciences. The school is part of the Flagship Initiative “Transforming Cultural Heritage” of Heidelberg University’s Excellence Strategy, and is being organized by the Max-Weber-Institute of Sociology (MWI) and the interdisciplinary Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies (HCIAS). CLAIMS_2023 will be held from February 27th to March 3rd, 2023 at the Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg, Germany.


About the Program – A Multi-perspective Initiative

“Heritage” is made up of attributions in the interactions between significant and often unequal players in a given historical setting that allows the labeling of “cultural” or “natural heritage” to be successful. “Heritage”, then, can reconfigure power relations, can create and deny access, or legitimize inclusion or exclusion. “Heritage” is thus bound to research debates on the capitalist valorization of nature and culture; on institutions involved in that process (e.g. patents, labeling processes); on different forms of knowledge which perceive, evaluate, use, and claim ‘nature’ and ‘culture’, or natural resources and cultural goods, in sometimes very diverging and conflicting ways; on global history, colonialism, and the importance of the appropriation of natural and cultural spaces for capitalism and western modernity; on hybridity, linguistic/discoursive attribution, and cultural codes used in the past and in the present.

Bearing in mind the significance and relevance of the concept, this Winter School looks at ways to approach the complex field of tension between claims and counterclaims over natural and cultural heritage. What designs and techniques are appropiate for understanding the labeling process of “cultural/natural heritage” and what roles are played by private and public actors? What possible methods are there to evaluate the way in which actors on different spatial and temporal scales refer to, make sense of, and use cultural and natural heritage, and what forms of narratives about it do they employ? What are the research perspectives on power relations and reconfigurations of access related to space, nature, and culture? These are some of the questions CLAIMS_2023 aims to answer.

In particular, the goal of CLAIMS_2023 is to better understand the contested terrain existing between states, multinational corporations, NGOs, and local communities, focusing on the claims and counterclaims over cultural and natural heritage, by focusing on Latin America, a biologically and culturally superdiverse region where these questions are of particular complexity and relevance.

CLAIMS_2023 follows a multi-perspective approach to analyze these phenomena and consider the dynamic character and social construction of natural and cultural heritage: combining historical and socio-linguistic expertise with social science, as well as calibrating with geographical perspectives on spaces and knowledge flows. Borrowing from a diverse range of disciplines, we are introducing different paradigms to shed light on the role of different actor groups regarding the provision of tangible and intangible benefits.


Photo credits: private photograph#1, iStockphoto#2