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Cultural mobilities and cultural heritage: concepts for an Asia-centric approach

orcid-imageKaren O’Brien-Kop*email-imageKaren O’Brien-Kop*

Karen O’Brien-Kop is Lecturer in Asian Religions at King’s College London. She researches South Asian Sanskrit texts and culture on ontology and mind–body practices–in particular, Hindu and Buddhist traditions. She co-convenes the Indian and Chinese Religions Compared Unit at the American Academy of Religion and is a co-editor at the academic journal Religions of South Asia. Her books include Rethinking ‘Classical Yoga’ and Buddhism: Meditation, Metaphors and Materiality (Bloomsbury 2021) and The Philosophy of the Yogasūtra: An Introduction (Bloomsbury 2023).

email-image karen.obrien-kop@kcl.ac.uk

,
orcid-imageXiang Renemail-imageXiang Ren

Xiang Ren has researched and taught architecture at the University of Sheffield since completing his PhD with Peter Blundell Jones in 2017. At Sheffield University, Ren directs the departmental architectural humanities research group and co-leads with Jan Woudstra on the interdepartmental research hub East West Studies in Architecture and Landscape. Broadly, Ren’s work examines intersections in architecture and heritage based on a close reading and thick interpretation of the substance and process of architecture, its cultural meaning, its social construction, its varied tectonic and ritual forms, in a longer history and across a larger world.

email-image xiang.ren@sheffield.ac.uk

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orcid-imageAlessandro Rippa§email-imageAlessandro Rippa§§

Alessandro Rippa is Associate Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, and project director at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich. He is the author of Borderland Infrastructures: Trade, Development, and Control in Western China (Amsterdam University Press 2020) and the PI of the ERC Starting Grant project ‘Amber Worlds: A Geological Anthropology for the Anthropocene’.

email-image alessandro.rippa@sai.uio.no

Abstract

This article sets out an original and exploratory framework for examining emerging concepts of cultural mobilities and heritage with a key focus on the infrastructure and spatialities of cultural mobilities in, of and through Asia—specifically China. To date, the scholarly analysis of mobilities has been dominated by the social sciences in relation to central themes of migration, national borders, crisis and transnational flows of objects and people. This paper seeks to expand the focus in mobilities discourses to humanities, not only to research how infrastructures and spatialities are shaped by culture and heritage but also to analyse cultural mobility through infrastructure and spatialities. We set out epistemic considerations for approaching cultural mobilities through an interdisciplinary lens that seeks to address heritage studies of diverse kinds, from environmental to religious to architectural. By centring Asian epistemes, the paper also challenges recognition and interpretation biases in the humanities and social sciences that continue to privilege Eurocentric hegemonies. Together, the co-authors examine: how Asian cultures operate through material and non-material infrastructures that defy singular location in geopolitical crossings and networks; how culture is mobilised in different ways through infrastructure; the entanglement of cultural heritage with political infrastructure and living practice as well as embedded values. The article discusses China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), yoga as a cultural infrastructure between India and China, and the infrastructure and multiple spatialities of Chinatown as a evolving practice of cultural heritage.

Keywords

mobilitycultural heritageinfrastructurecultural mobilitiesspatialitiesBRIyogadecolonisationAsia-centricChinatown
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Published on: 22 May 2024
Volume: 12
Issue: Issue 1 & 2
Article ID: a12
Copyright statement
© The author(s) 2024.
Cite this article
O’Brien-Kop with Ren, Rippa (2024), ' Cultural mobilities and cultural heritage: concepts for an Asia-centric approach ', Journal of the British Academy, 12(Issue 1 & 2): a12 https://doi.org/10.5871/jba/012.a12

Article commentary

Normal View Dyslexic View

Cultural mobilities and cultural heritage: concepts for an Asia-centric approach

orcid-imageKaren O’Brien-Kop*email-imageKaren O’Brien-Kop*

Karen O’Brien-Kop is Lecturer in Asian Religions at King’s College London. She researches South Asian Sanskrit texts and culture on ontology and mind–body practices–in particular, Hindu and Buddhist traditions. She co-convenes the Indian and Chinese Religions Compared Unit at the American Academy of Religion and is a co-editor at the academic journal Religions of South Asia. Her books include Rethinking ‘Classical Yoga’ and Buddhism: Meditation, Metaphors and Materiality (Bloomsbury 2021) and The Philosophy of the Yogasūtra: An Introduction (Bloomsbury 2023).

email-image karen.obrien-kop@kcl.ac.uk

,
orcid-imageXiang Renemail-imageXiang Ren

Xiang Ren has researched and taught architecture at the University of Sheffield since completing his PhD with Peter Blundell Jones in 2017. At Sheffield University, Ren directs the departmental architectural humanities research group and co-leads with Jan Woudstra on the interdepartmental research hub East West Studies in Architecture and Landscape. Broadly, Ren’s work examines intersections in architecture and heritage based on a close reading and thick interpretation of the substance and process of architecture, its cultural meaning, its social construction, its varied tectonic and ritual forms, in a longer history and across a larger world.

email-image xiang.ren@sheffield.ac.uk

,
orcid-imageAlessandro Rippa§email-imageAlessandro Rippa§§

Alessandro Rippa is Associate Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, and project director at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich. He is the author of Borderland Infrastructures: Trade, Development, and Control in Western China (Amsterdam University Press 2020) and the PI of the ERC Starting Grant project ‘Amber Worlds: A Geological Anthropology for the Anthropocene’.

email-image alessandro.rippa@sai.uio.no