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Pei-Lin Yu

Think about a landscape, a neighborhood, a building or even an object that defines and celebrates you. Your family, your community, your nation. Now picture it in danger. What can you do personally, and as a member of American society, to keep it safe to pass on to future generations?

This is the subject of a recently published volume, “Relevance and Application of Cultural Heritage in Contemporary Society,” by Routledge Press, co-edited by Pei-Lin Yu, an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology.

Articles address the role of cultural heritage in tackling global challenges of armed conflict, refugees, climate change, tourism, poverty and more. The volume is the culminating achievement of a panel of internationally renowned experts from a 2016 workshop co-sponsored by the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada, and the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

Yu was the workshop co-lead, and volume co-editor with George Smith (National Park Service) and Chen Shen (Royal Museum of Ontario). Read more about the workshop online at

The Toronto Declaration, which codifies the principles of cultural heritage, can be downloaded in English, Spanish, and four other languages online at