Paul Basu is Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Sussex. An active exhibition experimenter, he is author of Highland Homecomings (2007).
Difficult Heritage focuses on the case of Nuremberg – a city whose name is indelibly linked with Nazism – to explore these questions and their implications. Using an original in-depth research, using archival, interview and ethnographic sources, it provides not only fascinating new material and perspectives, but also more general original theorizing of the relationship between heritage, identity and material culture.
The book looks at how Nuremberg has dealt with its Nazi past post-1945. It focuses especially, but not exclusively, on the city’s architectural heritage, in particular, the former Nazi party rally grounds, on which the Nuremburg rallies were staged. The book draws on original sources, such as city council debates and interviews, to chart a lively picture of debate, action and inaction in relation to this site and significant others, in Nuremberg and elsewhere. In doing so, Difficult Heritage seeks to highlight changes over time in the ways in which the Nazi past has been dealt with in Germany, and the underlying cultural assumptions, motivations and sources of friction involved.
Whilst referencing wider debates and giving examples of what was happening elsewhere in Germany and beyond, Difficult Heritage provides a rich in-depth account of this most fascinating of cases. It also engages in comparative reflection on developments underway elsewhere in order to contextualize what was happening in Nuremberg and to show similarities to and differences from the ways in which other ‘difficult heritages’ have been dealt with elsewhere. By doing so, the author offers an informed perspective on ways of dealing with difficult heritage, today and in the future, discussing innovative museological, educational and artistic practice.
With an interdisciplinary approach, speaking to current themes in anthropology, archaeology, history, historical geography, cultural studies, migration studies, tourism studies, Scottish studies, Paul Basu explores the journeys made to the Scottish Highlands and Islands to undertake genealogical research and seek out ancestral sites.
Using an innovative methodological approach, Basu tracks journeys between imagined homelands and physical landscapes and argues that through these genealogical journeys, individuals are able to construct meaningful self-narratives from the ambiguities of their diasporic migrant histories, and recover their sense of home and self-identity.
This is a significant contribution to popular and academic Scottish studies literature, particularly appealing to popular and academic audiences in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Scotland