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Foreword Melissa Baird’s Critical Theory and the Anthropology of Heritage Landscapes provides several case studies using archaeological, ethnographic, and archival research from fieldwork performed in Michigan, Alaska, Mongolia, and Australia . Her scholarship provides an excellent example of how practitioners can use, analyze, and deconstruct heritage landscapes within the framework of critical heritage theory (CHT). CHT is a relatively new concept in the broader field of heritage studies whereby scholars examine the sociopolitical implications and consequences of heritage. CHT connects the political and social contexts of heritage and examines the development of heritage to theories of development, postcolonial theory, rights and justice, and ecology. Baird’s work investigates how knowledge and power intersect with and influence contemporary heritage practices and policies. Many professionals are working tirelessly to make CHT a distinct, viable discipline. Baird’s scholarship will go a long way to help define this emerging field. Within the framework of CHT, Baird shows how heritage landscapes are about nation-building whereby nation-states, corporations, and NGOs, to name a few, often negotiate and dictate the meaning of a place. In many cases their meanings become sanctioned through laws and policies. Baird’s work shows why cultural heritage should take into consideration the perspective of Native populations and how group displacement and/or lack of representation is often the result of a lack of power. In many cases the dominant group’s voice outweighs the desires of local Indigenous people. For instance, while power brokers like UNESCO aim to protect the Altai ecosystems in Mongolia, and mitigate threats to biodiversity, the people who would be most affected, the local herders, were not part of negotiations for ecosystem protection. Baird’s research challenges heritage professionals to consider how their work may overlook local community concerns. In 2011 the World Heritage Convention called upon the president of the International Council on Monuments and Sites to create a working group to develop guidelines to integrate human rights considerations in World Heritage work (Ekern et al. 2012:214). Heritage landscapes can become significant central places where citizens come to understand the relationships between past and contemporary social and political issues. Making these links between the past and the present can facilitate an exploration of both historic and contemporary concerns related to social justice (American Association of Museums 2002). Understanding the meaning of places becomes even more important, since a growing number of people are being displaced through extensive capitalist extraction or natural disasters. As extractive activities increase across the globe, new areas are opened up for development, and people and communities are removed from their traditional lands. In addition, climate change has also meant an increase of environmental disasters. Every year millions of people are displaced because of natural disasters. Ethnic nationalism, globalized forms of development, energy development , and urban renewal also threaten the heritage of millions of people. Many of these people suffer as their basic human and environmental rights are being violated. It becomes even more urgent that heritage landscapes be developed and protected to help create a sense of place for distressed populations (OliverSmith 2006:45–46). Heritage landscapes represent some of the best-known places in the world, and at times they are the most contentious. As communities realize the importance of heritage landscapes they have become entangled over issues of control, access, and preservation. As Baird argues throughout her book, to truly understand heritage landscapes we must also understand their legal, political, and historical contexts. The sociohistorical contexts of a heritage landscapes have real implications for communities and nations. Baird provides an important foundational study for understanding the control of heritage landscape. Paul A. Shackel Series Editor xii / Foreword ...


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