Post/colonial Heritage in East Asia and Beyond - Conflict, Remembering and Peacebuilding Workshop

Colonial heritage plays a fundamental role in how modern nation-states design and decolonise their national narrative regarding their imperial or colonial past within the state. These colonial heritage sites and narratives serve to remember, forget, construct, and reinterpret the colonial past and associated conflicts as part of nation-building practices. Colonial heritage also serves as a powerful tool for dialogue between nations engaged in international conflicts. States often use their colonial heritage to negotiate narratives with other countries regarding shared colonial pasts. Some countries arouse and reinforce conflicts among those involved, while others have used colonial heritage to build relationships. For instance, policy-makers and heritage managers use sites related to wartime memories, such as colonial prisons, to enable transnational collaboration. In so doing, colonial heritage becomes a soft power for cultural diplomacy and peace-building.

In this workshop, we will examine the role of colonial heritage in memory politics in East Asia and beyond. We will discuss the possible pathways for remembrance that heritage can have in international dialogue and peace-building. Broadly, this may involve various practices such as recognition and acknowledgement, reparation and remediation, negotiation, and reconciliation. It might include war commemoration, heritage tourism, acknowledging colonial history for public education, the empowerment of Indigenous communities, and the repatriation of objects and lands. The workshop is supported by the Australian Centre on China in the World and the ARC Discovery Grant titled "Local Remembering and National Forgetting" (DP230100344).

The workshop focuses on, but will not be limited to, the following questions:

  • What impact does colonial heritage have on nation-building, and how does it facilitate the formation of a national identity and collective memory of the past?
  • What role does colonial heritage have in transnational dialogue concerning local, national and international issues such as de-colonisation and war commemoration?
  • Is there any gap between the post-colonial memory of ordinary people and the corresponding official narratives of colonial heritage? How do the official and the (various) unofficial perceptions interact? Do relevant heritage-making, interpretation, and remembrance practices narrow or widen the gap?
  • What are the conditions and pathways for colonial heritage to shift from conflicts and remembrance to peace-building?
No events are currently scheduled. Details of future events will be posted as they become available.

Date & time

Mon 30 Oct 2023, 9.30am – Tue 31 Oct 2023, 8pm


Sir Roland Wilson Building, Conference Room 1.02


Roslynn Ang - Indiana University
Joan Beaumont - Australian National University
Joseph M. Cheer - Western Sydney University
Alissandra Cummins - Barbados Museum & Historical Society
Matthew Galway - Australian National University
Shumei Huang - National Taiwan University
Lia Kent - Australian National University
Shisei Kimura - Konan Women's University
Hoipan Karma Kong - Australian National University
Vera Mackie - University of Wollongong
Keir Reeves - Federation University Australia
Roslyn Russell - UNESCO Australian Memory of the World
Wenzhuo Zhang - University of Melbourne
Yujie Zhu - Australian National University


Dr Yujie Zhu


Updated:  12 October 2023/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications