Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
The goal of the “Grassroots Resource Preservation and Management in Kyrgyzstan: Ethnicity, Nationalism and Heritage on a Human Scale” project was to develop, promote, document, and evaluate a set of small-scale heritage and cultural property preservation/education projects designed by citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic. These projects promoted the development of community initiatives to preserve cultural resources. The project’s thesis was that Kyrgyzstan needed a more developed cultural resource management strategy to respond to rapid globalization and increasing tourism, which if unchecked was likely to result in escalating destruction and loss of cultural property. Kyrgyz archaeology and ethnohistory indicate that a pluricultural past underlies modern cultural vitality. The larger goal was thus to introduce and promote critical reflection on the repercussions of essentialist rhetoric before nationalistic constructions denying and restricting cultural diversity could take root.
Over the course of 12 years of collaborations among professionals from several disciplines and several countries and stakeholders from various communities, the Grassroots Project participated in and encouraged over 25 local projects. In this talk I describe the origins and development of the project and showcase some of our successes as well as plans for the future.