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Last updated:

April 8, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


What is heritage? This course will introduce you to the concept of heritage and its critical study, exploring the role of heritage in both past and contemporary societies.


This course introduces the concept of heritage and examines its various uses in contemporary society. It then provides a background to the development of critical heritage studies as an area of academic interest, and in particular the way in which heritage studies have developed in response to various critiques of contemporary politics and culture in the context of deindustrialization, globalization, and transnationalism. Drawing on a case study in the official documentation surrounding the Harry S. Truman Historic Site in Missouri, USA, it describes the concept of authorized heritage discourses (AHD) in so far as they are seen to operate in official, state-sanctioned heritage initiatives.

Learning Outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:
  • Understand the global scope of heritage
  • Understand the ‘material’ and ‘non-material’ aspects of heritage
  • Recognize heritage as a ‘process’ as well as a ‘product’ of certain activities in the present
  • Recognise heritage studies as a specific field of study
  • Understand the idea of the authorized heritage discourse (AHD).

Course Curriculum

    • Introducing Heritage 00:45:00
    • Explaining Heritage 02:30:00
    • There is no Such Thing as Heritage 02:00:00
    • What does Heritage Do? 02:00:00
    • Themes in Heritage Studies 02:00:00
    • Conclusion 00:45:00

About the instructor

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Open University UK
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