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Performing heritage; art of exhibit walks.

9788132106999

Performing heritage; art of exhibit walks.

Jafa, Navina.

Sage Publications

2012

216 pages

$32.95

G155

Navina Jafa is the Director of Indian Cultural Heritage Research, a consortium of South Asian cultural researchers putting together information on cultural heritage in the region. She is also a working Kathak performer. Both Jafa's subject and cultural perspective make this book an interesting and useful take on interpretive education, heritage interpretation, museums, and how people talk about, present, and experience culture. In this book, Jafa discusses exhibit walks, in which the equivalent of audiences or museum visitors walk through an area or event. An interpretive educator may lead the tour, the walk may be self-guided, performative elements may guide the walk, the community which inhabits the space may guide the interpretation themselves. As an interpreter in India, the author works with a level of interpenetration between expert authority and subject that is often present but rarely talked about in the US. She deals with tourism, but also with situations where individuals or groups quietly take over a heritage site and re-interpret it for their own political, religious, or artistic purposes. As a performer, the author brings a perspective to interpretation where subject and object are not rigidly separated, and the viewer's gaze is as likely to give the subject authority and represent shared experience as to take it away and represent othering. The book is illustrated with line drawings of the sites described. The book is divided into five chapters: debating and speculating heritage, designing and executing functional walking tours, the making of a study leader, aspects of the economics and culture of walking tours, and walking exhibits as brokering culture. The book offers awareness of the complexities of culture and authority in a direct style focused on practical experience and interested in fostering unique practical possibilities for cultural performance, teaching, and learning.

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Publication:Reference & Research Book News
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2012
Words:317
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