" In this short work, sociology professor Barthel-Bouchier (Stony Brook Univ.) critically explores the sustainability commitments of the "global heritage community." The author begins by providing a short introduction to the concept and evolving scope of heritage and its association with "cosmopolitan memory." Following a chapter on the idea of heritage as a human right, Barthel-Bouchier delves into the rise of the sustainability script within the cultural heritage sector and the attractiveness of this theme for heritage professionals and managers. The author subsequently addresses recent international meetings dealing with environmental threats to cultural heritage, as well as national mitigation and adaptation strategies to safeguard vulnerable heritage sites. Together, these three chapters set up the theoretical context for the sections that follow: climate change, rising waters, and threatened global cities and historic towns; desertification, deforestation, and polar melting and the loss of cultural landscapes; conflicts between heritage conservation and energy infrastructure development; and the contradiction between sustainability discourse (and the task of conserving heritage) and cultural tourism promotion. This well-referenced, provocative book has rich endnotes for each chapter, an extensive bibliography, and an efficient index. Summing Up: Highly recommended.
Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. "
"It can be disconcerting to find one's work subject to probing sociological analysis, but Barthel-Bouchier brings just the right balance of outside perspective and inside knowledge to the job. The result is a fascinating analysis of how heritage agencies, from the local to the global, are grappling with climate change, rising sea levels, desertification, alternative energy, mass tourism, and conflicting definitions of human rights. Anyone who’s in the heritage field, or who takes the challenge of sustainability seriously, should read this book. "
- Ned Kaufman, Kaufman Heritage Conservation and Pratt Institute
" A frank and fascinating exploration of cultural heritage as nostalgic social obsession and rigid bureaucratic process at a time of global crisis - by one of today’s foremost analysts of heritage and environmentalism. This must-read book offers some sobering implications for both future and past. "
- Neil Silberman, Center for Heritage and Society, University of Massachusetts Amherst