Rethinking Nature: Natural Heritage in the Cultural Memory
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In a time of rapidly accelerating ecological crisis, thinking about nature and natural heritage is more crucial than ever. The natural aspects of decay and change seem to overtake the culturally imposed aspects of conservational practices. Meaning, the problem is the status of heritage as a rigid monument in our cultural memory and the inability of natural spaces to be completely suspended in time by preservative measures. This is the problem that is at the core or this theory-based thesis, which aims to understand how the breaking down of the culture-nature dualism in the twentieth century has influenced heritage practices and the status of nature in the cultural memory. Therefore, guided by Aleida Assmann’s theory on cultural memory, this thesis aspires to find a middle ground between the state of flux of nature and the rigid status of heritage. In doing so, this thesis beings with an exploration of contemporary environmental ethics and the revision of the dualism. A revision that set new standards for a more intertwined relationship between culture and nature. This perspective offers a new take on the maintenance of our natural surroundings, which is relevant to natural heritage practices. The second part therefore shifts to the mapping of the twentieth century inclusion of nature in heritage practices, as exemplified by UNESCO. In the final part, the challenges of archival memory are counterbalanced by the inherent inclusion of nature in the cultural memory. This is due to the interconnection between nature and humanity, and therefore also culture.