Étienne Anheim

Dr. at the University of Versailles-St Quentin-en-Yvelines, France

University of Versailles/Saint-Quentin
47 boulevard Vauban, 78047 Guyancourt (France)
+33 (0)6 28 08 38 00


Etienne Anheim teaches medieval history at the University of Versailles / Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. His work focuses on cultural forms and material wealth in the West in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, especially manuscripts, archives, music and pictorial works. He has recently published Clement VI at Work: Reading, Writing, and Preaching in the Fourteenth Century (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 2014). He has also pursued research in the fields of historiography and epistemology of the social sciences and is Head Editor of the journal Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales. He is also the scientific director of the Laboratory of Excellence « Material Heritage » (http://www.sciences-patrimoine.org/), vice president of the Heritage Foundation of Science and member of the Scientific Council of the Louvre.


Where does nature end and culture begin? Cultural Heritage between Anthropology and Epistemology

The heritage movement that affects contemporary society has continued to expand, but the notion of heritage has also diversified. One of its main divisions has been based on the opposition between cultural heritage and natural heritage, the latter related directly to the current interest in the preservation of the environment at large. In this paper, I examine the meaning of the boundary between nature and culture in the context of heritage. I suggest that the apparent symmetry and simplicity of this division conceals important theoretical and practical issues in this field. Are these two areas subject to different modes of scientific knowledge? Or different public policies? Do they have a different ontological value? It is possible that this division is actually the projection of a Western worldview, which partly masks the consistency expressed by the use of the concept of heritage in the contemporary world.

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