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Performing Heritage

Performing Heritage
Art of Exhibit Walks

  • Navina Jafa - Director, Indian Cultural Heritage Research
Critical Acclaim

© 2012 | 256 pages | SAGE India
Centred in academic theory in the area of exhibiting culture, this book seeks to explore the art and politics of cultural representation. While thus far this discussion has been restricted to the closed spaces of museums, exhibitions, cultural festivals and the like, here, this densely interdisciplinary problematic is approached through the unique and increasingly popular medium of Heritage Walks.

Focusing on the idea of the living exhibit, the author employs her decades-long career in the field of academic cultural tourism and the performing arts to develop a uniquely critical frame and methodology for engaging with cultures in a dynamic and performative manner. The book argues that heritage walks are necessarily creative and academically invested, and can be an effective medium for rethinking the disciplines of history, sociology and conservation and the challenges they face in contemporary post-colonial India.

Through an acutely experiential account, the author bridges the gap between applied and academic theory in the fields of visual anthropology, museology, heritage conservation and cultural studies among others, providing the much needed scholarship in studies of living heritage.

Foreword Richard Kurin
Debating and Speculating Heritage  
Functionality, Designing and Executing Walking Tours  
Making of a Study Leader  
Walking Tours: Aspects of Economics and Culture  
Walking Exhibits as Brokering Culture  

Performing Heritage situates the entire gamut of the theory and practice of walking tours in a well-argued, accessible format….[the book] serves to promote heritage walks as a respectable and lucrative profession, if it is done with academic rigour and a commitment to the celebration of heritage.

Himal South Asian

Performing Heritage examines heritage walks as an artistic narrative involving culture, history and people.

The New Indian Express

A pioneering work on the technique and art of cultural representation through the medium of heritage walks! 

The Hindu

[The book] elaborates on the art of preserving and presenting heritage.... the book is written in simple language, sans academic jargon.


The Pioneer, 29 September 2012

A wordy read but with interesting perspectives and examples taken from the city's historical sites.


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Navina Jafa

Navina Jafa is a cultural activist, an academician, and a renowned performing artist. Having pioneered academic cultural tourism, her work has reached out to academicians, high-level political and economic delegates, students, corporate executives, and children. She has designed and executed academic tours all around India, including Ladakh, Spiti, Sikkim, Central India, South India, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and West Bengal. She was a Fulbright Scholar on Cultural Management and Representation at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in Washington DC, USA. She also taught a program on Performance, Culture, and Development... More About Author

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ISBN: 9788132106999