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“Which Egypt Will Answer”?

Some Genealogical Notes on World Heritage

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World Heritage Patinas

Part of the book series: The Latin American Studies Book Series ((LASBS))


In this article, I discuss several situations that historically influenced the formation of the notion of world heritage, beginning with the French Revolution, passing through the institutionalization sketches of the international preservation of heritage and its dissemination throughout the nineteenth century universal and international exhibitions, culminating in the elaboration and implementation of the 1972 World Heritage Convention by UNESCO. For the construction and consolidation of this notion of world heritage, it was fundamental to increase concerns about preservation beyond European and, by extension, Western borders. Accordingly, the Western creation of Orientalism as a field of knowledge and the inclusion of cultural property belonging to other nations outside its borders has proven to be paramount. Among these, those referring to Egypt stand out, both in the eighteenth century, when the process effectively begins, until the last quarter of the twentieth century, when the aforementioned notion of world heritage was implemented.

I’m at rock bottom

My scream

Sands the dry sky

Time stretches but I hear

The echo

Which Egypt will answer

And hides in the future?

(Veloso 1987)

Marcos Olender—Full professor at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora—UFJF. He runs the LAPA—Cultural Heritage Laboratory at UFJF. He has experience in the areas of History and Architecture and Urbanism, with an emphasis on Regional History of Brazil and on Historical and Cultural Heritage. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Brazilian Committee of the International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS-BRASIL).

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Olender, M. (2021). “Which Egypt Will Answer”?. In: Christofoletti, R., Olender, M. (eds) World Heritage Patinas. The Latin American Studies Book Series. Springer, Cham.

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