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Understanding global heritage

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What is the nature and value of heritage? Why are certain objects, places and practices considered more worthy of protection than others? This module will introduce you to the study of heritage and its function at local, regional, national and global levels. You’ll develop a critical understanding of how heritage is created and consumed across different cultures, and the roles heritage fulfils in contemporary and past societies. Using case material from around the world you’ll explore the global scope of heritage, from the ways in which local communities use heritage to build their own sense of identity, to the ways in which the state employs heritage in nation building.

Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

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Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1625.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1625.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

An additional fee for the examination may apply.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1465.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

Global heritage studies draws on understandings developed both by academics and professionals in museum and conservation fields. It offers a critical understanding of how professionals and other stakeholders make judgements about heritage and the underlying value systems on which these judgements are based.

Key questions include ‘What does heritage do?’ and ‘Who is heritage for?’. Some of the answers raise the connection between heritage and nationalism, and the notion that heritage is something created by social action.

You will learn about changing approaches to heritage and conservation in western and non-western societies from the eighteenth to early twenty-first centuries, focusing particularly on the global implications of the 1972 World Heritage Convention.

This module also looks to the future by identifying new directions in how people are defining heritage, including heritage of the contemporary world and heritage in virtual worlds. It is an opportunity for you to engage with heritage studies simultaneously as an area of academic enquiry, cultural meanings and practical application.

Understanding global heritage is presented through three, specially written, illustrated module books which provide a sound introduction to critical heritage studies as a global discipline. They use a range of international case studies which consider heritage at global, national and local levels.

Book 1 – Understanding the Politics of Heritage – is about the ways in which heritage can be exploited for political ends. It questions the view that heritage is necessarily ‘good’, and uncovers the ways in which heritage embodies relationships of power and subjugation, inclusion and exclusion, remembering and forgetting. It considers who is represented by heritage and who is excluded.

Book 2 – Understanding Heritage in Practice –  is about the ways in which heritage is understood and experienced by professionals and by the public. It moves through different arenas of professional practice, such as art conservation, museum curatorship, site interpretation and natural heritage conservation. In each case, the notion that only heritage professionals or experts can successfully select and interpret heritage is being eroded by an increasingly powerful community of heritage enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. Opportunities for engaging with the past are expanding beyond traditional museums and sites. In this book you’ll examine the opening up of heritage to new audiences and new meanings by looking beyond the ways in which heritage is offered to the ways in which heritage is valued.

Book 3 – Understanding Heritage and Memory – is about the ways in which heritage adapts and is adapted to new circumstances. We often think of heritage as collective remembering, but war memorials and intangible aspects of culture, such as language and literature, can also function as tools for collective forgetting. The past we inherit and the present we create are both plagued with problems of commemoration.

An online study guide will direct you through each week’s readings and audio-visual materials, with exercises, discussion points and online quizzes. As well as the numerous, interesting case studies in the three books, specially commissioned video and audio pieces offer additional case studies to bring the issues to life. The internet provides valuable resources for studying heritage and this module will help you to learn more about this. Although some assignments will require internet use, you are not assumed to have highly developed online skills before you start.

Vocational relevance

This module will appeal to students interested in public policy, cultural and environmental heritage management, public history and archaeology, art and architectural conservation, museums, galleries and related sectors.

Entry

This is a Level 2 module and builds on the Level 1 modules The arts past and present (AA100), Voices and texts (A150) and Making sense of things: an introduction to material culture (A151). These Level 1 modules develop skills such as logical thinking, clear expression, essay writing and the ability to select and interpret relevant materials. They also offer an introduction to the range of subjects in the arts and humanities.

If you have not studied at university level before, we strongly advise you to study at Level 1 before progressing to Level 2 study.

Any of the Level 2 arts and humanities modules, in particular Exploring history: medieval to modern 1400-1900 (A200), and World archaeology (A251), would make a good pairing with this module. Similarly, you might consider pairing this module with other modules in social sciences or environment, development and international studies.

Your regional or national centre can advise you on where you can see reference copies of Level 1 study materials. We particularly recommend looking at these materials if you have not successfully completed Level 1 study or studied at an equivalent level elsewhere.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Outside the UK

This is a module in global heritage and it is accessible to students both within and outside the UK.

Preparatory work

There is no set preparatory work. We suggest that you spend some time visiting heritage sites, such as a local museum, stately home, archaeological site, national park or conservation area. Think about this experience and discuss it with family or friends. Guide books and information leaflets can be useful here. Start by getting an understanding of what they tell you about the site, but go on to try to think about how they have been put together – particularly if anything has been left out that might enable you to get a different sense of the meaning or value of the site. Try also to find out as much as you can about the history of the site as it appears today – for example, when was it first opened as a heritage site? Is it actively marketed? If so, to what kind of audience?

More generally, if you have not studied AA100, you will find it useful to have The Arts Good Study Guide (E. Chambers and A. Northedge, The Open University), which will help you to develop your study skills.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and musical notation and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

There are sections of the module which make heavy use of illustrations, but assessment is not based on visual discrimination. If you have severely impaired sight you might benefit from the help of a sighted assistant to access this material. Brief descriptions of key visual materials are available.

Some discussions and collaborative activities may take place as live voice-based events in our audioconferencing (audiographics) environment, which combines voice, text and images. 

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Books, other printed materials, DVDs, website, online forums.

You will need

If you wish to participate in live online discussions as part of the tutorial support, you will need a headset with built-in microphone.

An integral part of the module is a specially designed online study guide, and some of your assignments will require you to use the internet. If you choose to take the module and you do not have regular access to the internet, you will find that your experience of the module is diminished.

You may choose to view the audio-visual materials on your television instead of your computer, in which case you will need a DVD player and television.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Materials to buy

Set books

  • Fairclough, G, Jameson, J H, Schofield, J & Harrison, R (eds) The Heritage Reader, Routledge £31.99 - ISBN 9780415372862
  • Smith, L J The Uses of Heritage, Routledge £22.99 - ISBN 9780415318310

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. While much of your tutor’s time will be spent providing you with online support, we may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Assessment is an essential part of the teaching, so you are expected to complete it all. You will be given more detailed information when you begin the module.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“I found this course very interesting. It certainly opened my mind to heritage and how it is perceived. The subject ...”
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“This was so far my favourite module at the OU. I liked both national and multicultural aspects of the module ...”
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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code AD281
Credits 60
OU Level 2
SCQF level 8
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

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