Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Communication and Rhetorical Studies
Cultural Memory, Heritage preservation, Knowledge/Power, Morocco, Space & Place, World Heritage
Social and Behavioral Sciences
This project engages the UNESCO World Heritage program's international place-making and heritage preservation campaign, and the processes that are carried out to transform an everyday cultural place into a World Heritage site. I consider what effects these preservation projects and the tourists they attract have on communities of living memory, while also engaging non-Western conceptions of heritage and the local processes for how it is preserved or produced in such contexts. To these ends, I look at one of the first non-Western urban sites to be inscribed on the World Heritage list-- the Medina of Fez, Morocco. The Medina offers a rich site for this analysis given its complex history as a preservation project, its status as the cultural capital of Morocco, and for a number of other reasons. I ask how preservation practices and protocols, as well as various discourses together construct the Medina as a World Heritage city and through what means is this spatial dynamic sustained. I also examine the effects of this Western driven global place-making and heritage preservation campaign employed within a non-Western place of living memory and memory practices. Through engaging these questions, I offer both a top-down (text-based analysis) and a bottom-up analysis (embodied spatial analysis) that draws from Foucaultian spatial theory, Michel de Certeau's poetics of space, and from literature in rhetorical studies and critical heritage studies. What follows is a three-part discussion of how the World Heritage place-making and preservation practices constitute a preservationist apparatus that renders heterotopic effects, how the heterotopia is grounded and sustained by the pedestrian rhetorics of tourists, local discourse, material preservation. Further, I engage how local meaning-making and memory work in the Medina of Fez offers a different understanding of how heritage is preserved and produced.
Houdek, Matthew, "When Heritage Preservation Meets Living Memory: Constructing the Medina of Fez as a World Heritage Heterotopia" (2014). Theses - ALL. 52.