Heritage Through Women's Eyes: Famous, Visible and Excluded (LACWG Event)
Please join the Latin America and the Caribbean Working Group for the discussion session Heritage Through Women's Eyes: Famous, Visible and Excluded with María Fernanda Escallón, Assistant Professor. Anthropology Department - University of Oregon. Our session will take place next Friday, October 16 from 12:00 PM to 1:15 PM via Zoom. The presentation will be in English. Q&A in English and Spanish.
Why has the recognition of Afro-descendants’ “cultural heritage” further marginalized Black communities in Colombia? In 2005, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the cultural practices of the Afro-Colombian town of San Basilio de Palenque as “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.” Though this declaration was widely celebrated as an avenue for Afro-descendants’ political inclusion and an engine for local sustainable development, for some Palenquero women the recognition was experienced as a form of exclusion. Today, the Palenquero community is more visible than ever before, yet Palenqueros feel more vulnerable now than ever. In this talk, I examine the situation of a group of Palenqueras working as fruit vendors on the streets of the nearby touristic city of Cartagena. These women felt exploited by the heritage recognition process, which popularized their image as an icon of heritage tourism, without providing any tangible financial benefit. I examine the disconnect that exists between Palenqueras’ public image and their lived experience in an effort to trace how their characterization as Afro-descendant living heritage became both an opportunity for and an obstacle to their socio-economic mobility. While the heritage recognition made Palenqueras hyper-visible as touristic icons, it also hid the precarity of their situation as black female street vendors.
Please RSVP here for the Zoom link.