Call for Abstracts

Cultural Landscapes & Heritage Values
Embracing Change in the Management of Place

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Heritage and Society is pleased to announce an international conference to be held May 16-18, 2016 at the University of Life Sciences in Prague, Czech Republic Campus

The dichotomy between nature and culture in heritage conservation has often seemed like an either/or proposition.But in recent years, heritage designations at the international, national, regional and local levels are beginning to reflect the fact that nature and culture are indivisible. This is true for the application of all of heritage’s associated disciplines: landscape, architecture, archaeology, folklore, ethnobotany, history, ethnography, planning, agriculture and public health, just to name a few. In fact, there isprobably no discipline in the humanities, social or natural sciences that isnotaffected by either culture, nature or, more often, both.

What this means for researchers and professionals is a necessity for inter- and multi-disciplinary conservation and preservation efforts.Gone are the days when heritage professionals can oppose ecological conservation efforts – and vice versa – without significant effects to the resources.On the other hand, increased efforts to achieve the conservation of integrated natural and cultural systems will result in higher adaptability and resilience, critical outcomes in the era of climate change.

This three-day conference is the 7th in a series of annual conferences exploring the relevance ofheritage in present-day society.This year’s conference is sponsored by the Center for Heritage and Society at the University of Massachusetts, in conjunction with the Faculty of Environmental Sciences at the Czech University of Life Sciences.The Czech Republic is a particularly appropriate location to explore these themes since both nature and culture are an integral part of Czech culture and society.

The Conference explores this link between nature and culture inan interconnected series of events designed to highlight different ways of thinking about heritage, nature and their interface.The event will include a three-day scientific symposium, organized field trips to explore key cultural and natural heritage sites, and a juried film and photograph exhibition.

Major Themes and Suggested Topics

Themes to be explored in this conference will include:

  • Communities in the aftermath of human- or natural- disturbances:In the light of increasing disturbance, both human and natural, the need to understand degradation and appropriate responses is more important than ever. Climate change, resource extraction, war, strife, and migrations all leave significant scars both on people and their landscape. As a result, restoring (or supporting changes in) natural and cultural ecologies will need tobe a priority in coming years. What does knowledge and experience teach us about how to best cope with these disasters, and perhaps better prepare for ones in the future? Abstracts should include topics such as: Climate change and its effects on heritage; Land reclamation (restoring natural and cultural ecologies); Landscape as healing; The role of place and place-making in restoration; among others.
  • Authenticity and Integrity vs. Change in Living Landscapes: Landscapes are the products and precedents of natural and cultural processes that began in the past and continue into the future. Understanding cultural landscapes as living landscapes has recast ideas of historical integrity and “authenticity.” If we acknowledge that change is inherent in living landscapes, then how do we safeguard something that by definition changes? And in the context of change, where does authenticity lie? Abstracts should address issues of integrity and authenticity in landscapes that continue to change and which reflect the changes in the lives of the people who inhabit them, including historic urban landscapes, agricultural landscapes, indigenous cultural landscapes, and other living landscapes.
  • Tangible and Intangible Heritage in Cultural Landscapes: Cultural landscapes embody tangible as well as intangible heritage, and are a combined expression of both. Various forms of traditional knowledge shape landscapes and are therefore a vital topic in cultural landscape research and practice. Abstracts should address case studies and research in traditional landscape management practices; layers of meaning ascribed to landscapes that have been lost or are contested; proxemics patterns and their influence on power and social structure; ephemeral landscapes and landscapes of change; agricultural landscapes; indigenous landscapes; and other examples of intangible heritage in cultural landscapes.
  • Sustainability in Cultural Landscape Management: Climate change, environmental degradation, and goals for an increasingly sustainable future affect cultural landscape research and practice in many ways. Abstracts should address heritage planning in relation to climate change, the integration of sustainable food systems in cultural landscape management, cultural landscapes as infrastructure, and sustainable technology in landscape conservation.

Abstract Review Committee

  • Sonya Atalay, Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Alex Bauer, Department of Anthropology, Queens College, City University of New York
  • Neil Silberman, Center for Heritage & Society, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Krista Harper, Department of Anthropology, Center for Public Policy and Administration, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Sophia Labadi, Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies, Kent University
  • James Young, English Department, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Don Rypkema, PlaceEconomics
  • Elizabeth Brabec, Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • David Glassberg, Department of History, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Jane Anderson, Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Submission of Abstracts

To propose a symposium, paper, or poster for one of the four sub-themes listed above, please submit an abstract (maximum 350 words) by March 15, 2016. This conference will be open to the public and will explore the theme of “Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values” as described above. Papers selected will be the basis of twenty-minute presentations followed by discussion. No more than one abstract will be accepted per author (you may submit a second if you are not the principal author). Proposals will be selected through a blind peer review by the conference committee. Authors will be notified within two weeks of the author's submission on a rolling basis.


  • Early Bird Professional (by March 30) $210
  • Early Bird Student (by March 30) $75
  • Regular Professional (before May 1) $260
  • Regular Student (before May 1 ) $125
  • Late Professional (on or after May 1) $290
  • Late Student (on or after May 1) $190

Registration includes conference attendance and program, coffee breaks, and opening and closing receptions for May 16-18.

For questions or requests for additional information, please contact CHS Research Assistant Sean O'Donnell ( or visit the conference website: