Should anyone decide to ask the question, “What is Comparative Heritage Project all about?”, they would have asked a fairly accurate and well-timed question. Such a line of inquiry has a capacity to introduce important conversations and topics which, ordinarily, most people do not realize are important enough to be taken up as subjects of discussions. Comparative Heritage Project is that junction where the critical meets the mundane. It is my hope that, through this research, significant conversations might happen among people who normally don’t confer, let alone converge.
Put simply, Comparative Heritage Project examines, documents, and the forms and categories by which human beings exercise memory power and meaning-making abilities. The starting point for this research lies among the experiences of minorities groups, formerly enslaved and oppressed peoples, using the transatlantic slavery and colonial encounters with Europe and America as reference points. Postcolonial African and African American realities provide important frameworks that give detailed insights into maneuverability and utility of heritage in negotiating history and memory.
Recognizing the breath in vastness and scope of this field of research, CHP’s thematically and methodologically approaches the arising issues from diverse transdisciplinary perspectives. What this then means is that CHP encourages participants and collaborators (scholars, researchers, and practitioners of heritage) to take cognizance of the ways in which adopted methodological approaches may incapacitate or mitigate research productivity.
Among the several reasons why a comparative research on human “heritage” is important are the exposure to realities that otherwise would be beyond one’s grasp. An individual who has never traveled outside of their immediate city or county of birth may have tendencies, if reckless or unfortunate enough to become a victim of ultra nationalism’s mantra, to assume that the entire world stops at their county’s boundary. What, for CHP, needs to happen, is conversation. But, no more may we indulge in fantastic idealism which assumes that logic has a place among the irrational than to hope that the guillotine’s blade once dropping towards the king’s neck has a chance of some skyward return – before the ball rolls aground!
Similarly, CHP studies and examines heritage through the violence that is produced via culture politics. Here is why it is important to begin from the experiences and narratives of groups and individuals who have suffered from the productions and consequences of heritage. I invite you to join in this journey. Together, let’s study ways of creating environments for conversations that enable and empower each of us to live and create better and far more peaceful worlds.