Introducing Traditional Cultural Properties (in Need of Critical Geographies)
By Giorgio Hadi Curti and Christopher M. Moreno
Transitioning from the world of academia and intensive engagements with critical, post-structuralist, post-colonial, feminist and even uncategorizable operations of thought into the ostensibly linear policies, procedures and regulatory frameworks of Traditional Cultural Properties (TCPs) and the field of Cultural Resource Management (CRM) has been a journey of sometimes-overwhelming suffocation, challenge and frustration. But it has also been one of liberatory clarity and joyful realization: there is a pragmatic need for creative and critical geographical discourse and praxis within the realm of CRM in general and TCPs in particular. There have been a number of critical works over the last several years pinpointing some of the geographical shortcomings and problematics of TCPs—from the implications of characterizing culturally significant places and landscapes as “properties” or “resources” to the hegemonic impositions of scientism and state control over evaluation and nomination procedures to the lack of accounting for and failure to consider alternative understandings of space and
time in identification and preservation measures. While our interests in organizing this special issue certainly find consonance and amity with these critiques, our ultimate intent here is twofold: (1) to bring much-needed critical geographical discussions into a field of research and analysis that has largely been dominated by anthropology, archaeology and architectural history to date and (2) to introduce—and, we hope, begin to actively involve—the critical geographical community in TCP research and advocacy.