The Museum as Expression of Local Identity and Place: The Case of Nanjing

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter looks at museum representations of the historic city of Nanjing, and explores how the narratives of a relic museum function as a ‘memory machine’ to reconstruct cultural belonging and identity, generating a bond between people and place that takes on the af fective power of ‘topophilia’. While such local bonding is crucial for developing an understanding of, and commitment to, heritage preservation, modern museology operates on national and global, as well as local, stages, greatly complicating museum presentations of history and cultural heritage. This chapter argues that the relic museum – as a surviving memorial of the past by saving and displaying its historical objects and artefacts – thus becomes an arena of contestation between top-down state recognition for national and global audiences and bottom-up locally embedded cultural revival.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Heritage Turn in China
Subtitle of host publicationThe Reinvention, Dissemination and Consumption of Heritage
EditorsCarol Ludwig, Linda Walton, Yi-Wen Wang
Place of PublicationNetherlands
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9789048536818
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2020

Publication series

Name Asian Heritages

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Nanjing
  • Six Dynasties
  • relic museum
  • topophilia
  • heritage
  • memory


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