Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The course unit deals with the analysis of the role that cultural heritage has played and still plays in the building and functioning of the modern nation state. The issue of the so called “places of the memory” became, in the late Eighties of the last century, a mainstream topic, as they were introduced in the scientific debate by the French historian Pierre Nora about the difference between history and memory. The places of memory and their identification with the notion of heritage have become in modern age more important than before, because it speeded up the processes of consumption of the “traditions". Cultural heritage is also frequently a territory of strong conflicts, representing, sometimes in a hostile way, the fetish of the national patriotism. An exemplary case is provided by the meanings and ways the landscapes have been imagined and represented from Renaissance onwards. Another exemplary case was the “invention” of the classical tradition which preceded Italian and European Renaissance. Recent dramatic events about Palmira’s partial destruction show how even this “pidgin” translation of the cultural heritage hides its potential use as a weapon. The course unit will pay particular attention to the different ways adopted by the European and extra-European national authorities for conserving and managing their cultural heritages, highlighting the need for a sort of "geographic" and "ethnographic" sensibility in dealing with different local cultures and administrative traditions. By the end of the course unit, students are able to correctly identify the relationships between places and culture formations, and to interpret them through the complex cross-scalar framework of globalization processes which affects local development.

Course contents

Cultural and Intercultural Geography of the Heritage

From the building of the State Nation to the Economy of knowledge


The course deals with the connection which the Cultural Heritage built over time with the birth, the rooting and the working of the modern state nations and the territorial state, through the so-called “invention of the national tradition” and the formation of the national “identity”.

A second part is theoretical and anlyzes how the Cultural Heritage is interpreted, as Social and Cultural Capital, and Common Goods in the local development, mainly in the contemporary postfordist economy.

As a tool of the local development toward new economic forms of production, the Cultural Heritage deeply changes the function it played during the season of the territorial state, taking new internationalized characters, in the new global competition among the different territories that must become networks made of social and cultural capital, governance, technological and economic infrastructures.

A third part of the course is dedicated to the “practices” committed to the local development using the cultural resources as strategic tools. Will be taken into consideration topics like the New Management of the Cultural Heritage, the so-called Culture-driven development, the economy of the knowledge, the creative cities considered the most evolued strategies of local development based on culture, cultural heritage and creativity.

Exemplary cases. The course will provide some exemplary cases of “invention of tradition” (the invention of the Classic, Greek tradition as the foundation of the Western civilization made by Cyriac of Ancona in the Fifteenth century, the invention of the Scottish kilt as a symbol of the Scottish identity in the Eighteenth century); some extreme and paradoxical experiences of the management of the cultural heritage in contexts very far from the Anglo-Saxon administrative, legal and cultural frame (based on the common laws) and some examples of creative cities like Linz (Austria) and Nantes (France).


A written synthesis of the course will be provided with the pictures used in the lessons.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons, discussion of cases, possible conferences of experts.

Assessment methods

The final exam consists in a paper written by the student  about some topics of the course discussed and integrated by some questions made by the teacher.

Office hours

See the website of Giorgio Mangani