Stigmatized Space: Negative Heritage in Historic Preservation

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traumatic sites
dissonant heritage
absolution rites
genies loci
Environmental Studies
Historic Preservation and Conservation
Regional Sociology
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Moses, Sarah

This thesis acknowledges negative heritage as an essential but understudied thread in preservation discourse. It traces the naissance of the term “negative heritage” and its antecedent terminologies in order to situate recent scholarship on the subject within a larger philosophical moment. By tracing the origin of scholarship on the subject, this thesis develops a paradigm of the sorts of events that have been essential to development of negative heritage as a material and theoretical concept and that have had impact on a diverse enough audience to merit continued interdisciplinary study. Before outlining when negative heritage developed as a concept, for what reasons, and what movements and tendencies its consideration has come to promote, this thesis diagnoses what precisely negative heritage is; definitions of the term and its antecedents, which have largely been borrowed from anthropological and psychological literature, are evaluated in terms of their clarity and applicability, and rewritten to tailor the concept — now widely disseminated but still poorly defined — to historic preservation discourse. Precedents in disparate contexts trace the development of a sociogeographic ethos with regard to stigmatized spaces; tactics that have had little representation in the literature receive particular attention. To encourage the management of traumatic sites in a manner that accounts for geographic context as well as sociocultural factors, this thesis considers modes of intervention able to foster acceptance, catharsis, and in various modes, preservation.

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Suggested Citation: Moses, Sarah (2015). Stigmatized Space: Negative Heritage in Historic Preservation. (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
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