What do Cultural Heritage Landscapes Look Like? The Case of Qatar
While the heritage industry in the State of Qatar has grown exponentially over the last decade, it is a built landscape dominated by ultra-modernism, marked by new construction and urban (re) planning. Besides the concern with a more traditional ‘heritage’ in the Eurocentric sense under the auspices of UNESCO, heritage preservation hides in plain sight in familiar processes of cultural development and re-development in Qatar. In this talk, I examine heritage preservation narratives that go practically unnoticed as part of a 7-year ethnographic project that examines the emergence of heritage preservation instruments and traditions in contemporary Qatar. In doing so, I invoke various intersecting discourses: the establishment of state-sponsored attitudes towards modernization in general; imported value-systems brought about by projects of urban development and their experts; and the role of local agency and innovation.