Contested Space in Former Colonies: What is the Role of Representations of European Colonial Heritage Outside of Europe?

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The implantation and representation of the European interpretation, use and presentation of space through hundreds of years of colonialization has left a built form legacy in all continents. What do we make of such places in the twenty first century? In one interpretation they represent conquest and imposition, in another they are relics of past glories. International tourism, especially that which is packaged, has generated a third interpretation. These places are physically remote from their European origins but in some apects representative of them. This paper examines four such places; Portuguese religious zeal in Old Goa India; the Dutch fort at Galle in Sri Lanka; the convict settlement at Port Arthur, Tasmania and the goldfields of central Victoria, the last two in Australia and both episodes in British colonialism. These places are survivors of past eras, but they are also communities where people live and work and they are sites of mass tourism. Interpretation of the history of these places is often a conflict between representations of the suffering that took place, the grandeur created by immense wealth and the desire of the tourism industry to present them as curiosities. The representation of place and space has become a commodity as the reasons for the original settlement and development no longer exist. The suggestion is that much of what is being presented as heritage has been conveniently „airbrushed‟.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, 2010 Space is Luxury, Aalto, July 7-10th
Colonization, Heritage, Tourism
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