In what ways are history and heritage similar, and in what ways are they different?
For many years the difference between heritage and history has been confused. Often the line between the two is merged creating a general measure of difficulty when it comes to separating the two. ‘The relationship between heritage, history and memory has been subject to much debate recently among geographers, historians and cultural critics’1. However it is clear, that ‘Heritage is not history’2 and that ‘Heritage should not be confused with history. History seeks to convince by truth … Heritage exaggerates and omits, candidly admits and frankly forgets, and thrives on ignorance and error’3 . Despite their differences, nonetheless, it would be impossible to say that they did not have similarities and at time clearly rely on each other, ‘Recent work has emphasised that heritage tourism is not just a set of commercial transactions, but the ideological framing of history and identity’4. But to discover the similarities and differences between heritage and history, we must define the two as appropriately as possible.
Heritage can sometimes be seen ‘as a concept, [that] begins with the highly individualised notion of personal inheritance or bequest (e.g. through family wills and legacies)’5 this could indeed be said where the idea of heritage began. But a broader, modernised and more accurate definition is that heritage is `virtually anything by which some kind of link, however tenuous or false, may be forged with the past’6. Although, from using this definition we can see that history and heritage indeed differ, it also emphasises how they are familiar as history also gives us ‘opportunities to connect past and present in powerful ways’7. Thus giving us the chance to define history.
Defining history as ‘the study of [the] past’8 is the general description of what history is, however this has limitations. ‘That definition would include all physical events and...
Bibliography: S. Marsdan and R. Nicol, (eds) The politics of heritage, 1990, pg17.
Lowenthal, The heritage crusade and the spoils of history, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
Goucher, Candice L., Connecting African History to the Major Themes of World History. World History Connected 2.1 (2004): 20 pars. 26 Feb. 2014
1998, 338 pages
Robert Milton Underwood, Defining history, internet, 2008, pg 1-10
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