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Heritage and governance: Between global policy and local practice


Admission requirements

Bachelor’s degree obtained.


Heritage policies have become increasingly internationalised in recent decades. From the protection of world heritage to illicit trafficking of cultural objects and international criminal liability for cultural crimes, contemporary policies dealing with heritage are tackled through a variety of multilevel governance mechanisms.
Operating at the juncture of identity politics and global commons, heritage increasingly represents the stage where the political acts of our age are played out.

Through an examination of international cultural heritage law (including UNESCO treaties), global governance mechanisms, and concrete case studies (e.g. Syria), this course focuses on the challenges and trends in the field of cultural heritage governance at the international level, and the extent to which these policies interact with local practice on the ground.
What are the various policies influencing cultural heritage governance globally? How are the universal and specific reconciled through global approaches to heritage? What about state accountability and the legitimacy of cultural claims? These are just some of the questions addressed in this course.

Course objectives

  • Ability to evaluate the role of international law and international organisations in heritage governance;

  • Ability to explore the main challenges in heritage governance today;

  • Ability to critically assess the role of heritage governance in crisis situations and disputes;

  • Exercise research skills by choosing a topic, finding relevant literature and orally presenting this in class, as well as handling a stimulating discussion afterwards.


Course schedule details can be found in the MA time schedule.

Mode of instruction

Seminars and lectures.
Students must have read the required materials in order to participate in class discussion. Discussion points for each class will be distributed one week in advance.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 14 hours of lectures;

  • 140 pages of literature;

  • Final essay of 4,000 words;

  • 20 hours of practical work towards class presentation (including attending fellow students’ presentations).

Assessment method

One final grade made up of:

  • Written exam (75%);

  • Class presentation (25%).
    Both the presentation and the written assignment must be passed in order to pass the course.

All assessment deadlines (exams, retakes, paper deadlines etc.) can be found in the examination schedule.

Reading list

The reading list will be posted on Blackboard.


Registration for the course is not necessary, registration for the exam is mandatory. For instructions, see the Registration in uSis page.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.


For more information about this course, please contact mw. dr. A. Strecker.


  • Compulsory attendance. Students can miss no more than 1 class per 7 lectures (14h). A register of attendance will be kept.

  • Max. 30 students.