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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Cultural Heritage: Ownership & Stewardship (LA 594/ANTH 594): Home

A guide to Professor D. Fairchild Ruggles's course "Cultural Heritage: Ownership & Stewardship (LA 594/ANTH 594)"


Heritage is an active appropriation of the past, tailored to present investments and values. It reflects identity at scales ranging from the personal to the national and can become a powerful means of self-definition.

The objective of this course is to critically examine the theories, discourses, and methods of cultural heritage that greatly impact the political, cultural, and social construction of the contemporary world. Throughout the course, we will explore issues such as globalization and localism, memory and cultural identity, tourism and the transformation of heritage into a resource for consumption, heritage as property, and the need for the protection of cultural heritage. This year the heritage seminar will focus particularly on issues pertaining to the ownership and stewardship of heritage, including cases of conflict and contestation.

Syllabus and Instructor Information


  1. Class discussion and presentation of readings, 10%
  2. Writing Assignment 1 (essay on MacCannell and Fainstein & Judd): 25%
  3. Writing Assignment 2 (essay on Elgin marbles, R’s crown, and Madinat al-Zahra.): 25%
  4. Writing Assignment 3 (Dakota Pipeline): 15%
  5. Presentation in Forum:  25%

For the first two written assignments, essays that receive a grade of B or lower may be rewritten and resubmitted (with B+ being the highest “re-grade” that can be achieved). This is not an exercise in recopying but a thorough revision in which significant improvement is expected, and students are encouraged to schedule an individual consultation with the professor to discuss writing and techniques of written argumentation. 

UIUC principles of academic honesty and integrity govern the conduct of everyone in the course.

Students with disabilities: UIUC is obligated to make reasonable accommodation for known disabilities of a student. In general, it is the student’s responsibility to make his or her disability status and subsequent need for an accommodation known to the instructor at the beginning of the semester. The instructor will then work with DRES to accommodate the needs.


Course readings consist of the major charters and policy documents guiding heritage conservation at national and international levels, as well as books and articles on heritage and particular urban heritage. One book is recommended for purchase; other readings are available on Compass; UNESCO and ICOMOS documents will be found on the web.

The book recommended for purchase is:

Requirements for Writing assignments

  1. All writing assignments should be submitted using the following format: 12-point Times Roman font, 1-inch margins on all sides of the page, double (not triple) space, indent paragraphs (do not skip lines).
  2. Sources that were consulted for information or ideas should be cited in the form of parenthetical citations (which requires an additional bibliography) or footnotes. An instruction sheet will be provided to help guide you.
  3. All written work must be the work of the student. Copying or paraphrasing work from a website or another author is plagiarism, which the university punishes by failing the student from the course or possibly expelling the student from the university. If you have any uncertainty about this, please come see me for a tutorial.
  4. Please, learn to evaluate any resources you use such as, a  website or fake news see 

Middle East and North African Studies