Dr Natsuko Akagawa


In the current state of heritage discourse, the interrelationship between tangible and intangible heritage (Akagawa 2015, 2016) has become a major focus of attention. Linking the two is the assumption that heritage, for it to be invested with meaning, must be held to be ‘authentic’, or, and in lay terms, ‘real’. But what is authentic and what is real? The question of ‘digital or ‘virtual heritage’ therefore appears to raise significant questions. Increasingly, digital format is being used, not only for the interpretation of heritage sites, that is, for ‘experiencing a site’, but also for digital reconstruction of heritage places and objects, for the planning of actual reconstruction, and for presenting virtual heritage of past sites that no longer exist. If the ‘meaning’ one ascribes to a heritage, what one ‘feels’ about a site for instance, is an integral part of what constitutes heritage, and is seen as equally, or even more, important than its materiality, what does digital medium do to what is supposedly the central element of what constitutes ‘heritage’? The paper will discuss some of these issues.


Natsuko’s research is on heritage as it applies to people, communities, nations and global interactions. She is an Expert Member of ICOMOS and Vice-President of International Scientific Committee on intangible cultural heritage (ICOMOS). She was a visiting research fellow at the East West Centre and University of Hawaii, Manoa (United States Federal Government funded) as well as a Fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies with Leiden University (EU funded). Her book, Heritage conservation in Japan’s cultural diplomacy: Heritage, national identity and national interest (Routledge Contemporary Japanese Series 2014) which establishes a pioneering theoretical nexus between the politics of cultural diplomacy, heritage conservation, and national identity and interest, has become a focus for scholars in a range of disciplines. Natsuko is a co-editor of Intangible Heritage (Routledge 2008), internationally regarded as one of the first comprehensive texts on this topic and used widely as a prescribed reading material. She is currently finalising Intangible Heritage: Second generation (Rutledge forthcoming 2017) with her co-editor. She is also a reviewer for Q1 journals such as: International Journal of Heritage Studies, Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing etc.



About Research Seminar Series

The School of Languages and Cultures Research Seminar Series provides an opportunity to hear from the School's researchers as well as visitors on a range of topics from the following research areas: Linguistics, Second Language Studies, Studies in Culture, and Translation and Interpreting

Research Seminars are only available for UQ students and staff. 



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