• Offered by Research School of Humanities and the Arts
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Research
  • Course subject Humanities
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Art History, Museums and Collections, Digital Humanities, Heritage Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Yujie Zhu
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

The essential importance of intangible heritage as a core part of human understanding is being increasingly recognised both nationally and internationally. In 2003 UNESCO passed the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage and in so doing explicitly acknowledged the value of forms of cultural knowledge such as performance, song, storytelling and dance, and the practices that underpin tangible artistic outcomes. This course surveys key conventions and associated operational guidelines alongside questions of cultural politics, human rights, ownership and copyright. It explores the role of the museum and digital technology in safeguarding and curating intangible heritage. It also frames intangible heritage as a valuable concept for rethinking heritage as a cultural process in which the relationship between the tangible and intangible are renegotiated. Students are asked to consider intangible heritage in relation to key concepts including affect, identity, performativity, temporality, place, and memory. In so doing they will develop a sophisticated and well-informed approach to heritage work which considers the intangible alongside the material. In addition to Heritage and Museum Studies, this course may be of interest to student in history, anthropology, digital humanities and the performing arts.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the main critical issues concerning intangible heritage in written and oral forms;
  2. critically assess the policies, guidelines and procedures related to assessing and safeguarding intangible heritage;
  3. identify examples of intangible heritage and develop projects through the application of relevant analytical tools and assessment procedures; and
  4. analyse the role of intangible heritage in different contexts.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Reflective summary, 1000 words (15%) and tutorial presentation, 10-minutes (10%) both focusing on one set reading (25) [LO 1,4]
  2. A project centred on a potential subject of intangible heritage making a case for its significance and need for safeguarding using the guidelines and principles as set out by the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee , or a detailed analysis of an existing case study from the Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage and Register that examines and analyses the expert assessments the action plan and response from the committee, 2000 words (25) [LO 1,2,3]
  3. Research essay which involves a critical examination of one or more of the key issues explored during the course, 3000 words (50) [LO 1,2,3,4]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


As a 6-unit course, students are expected to spend 130 hours in meeting the study and assessment requirements of the course. The course will consist of 36 contact hours, comprising of one x two hour lecture and one x one hour of tutorial per week over 12 weeks plus 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

Alivizatou, Marilena. 2012 Intangible Heritage and the Museum: New Perspectives on Cultural Preservation. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
Bijsterveld, K. and van Dijck, J. 2009 Sound Souvenirs: Audio Technologies, Memory and Cultural Practices. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Brosius, Christiane and Karin M. Polit (eds). 2011 Ritual, Heritage and Identity: The Politics of Culture and Performance in a Globalised World. New Dehli; Abingdon: Routledge.
Dorfman, Eric (ed.). 2012 Intangible Natural Heritage: New Perspectives on Natural Objects. New York: Routledge.
Stefano, Michelle L. and Peter Davis (eds). 2017 The Routledge Companion to Intangible Cultural Heritage. New York: Routledge.
Smith, Laurajane and Natsuko Agawa (eds). 2009 Intangible Heritage. New York: Routledge.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6000
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8292 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person N/A

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