The World Heritage Bluff: Comparing Vienna’s historic city center with Ephesos


Date and Time

May 30, 2019 12:00 PM



RSVP required by 5PM May 29.


William J. Perry Conference Room
Encina Hall, Second Floor, Central, C231
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305

To listen to the audio recording of this talk, please visit our multimedia page.

While Ephesos was inscribed in the UNESCO world heritage list in 2015, Vienna is in danger of losing the title because of building projects in the city center. From these two rather different examples, the whole UNESCO process including application, inscription, and monitoring will be critically reviewed and the question of accuracy, independency, and scrutiny of UNESCO and related organizations raised. National exertions of influence will be reflected upon, as they often contradict expert evaluations. In conclusion, the issue ought to be addressed whether something like “World Cultural Heritage,” in the sense of global responsibility, actually exists, and whether the national administration of the world heritage sites in fact excludes this aspiration. Ultimately the overriding question is raised as to how a consciousness for cultural heritage, apart from touristic-economic incentives and beyond national (in many cases regional) borders, can be created.


Sabine Ladstätter headshot

Sabine Ladstätter studied Classical Archaeology, Prehistory, Protohistory and Ancient History at the Universities of Graz and Vienna, culminating in a Master's degree (University of Graz) in 1992 and a Doctoral degree at the University of Vienna in 1997. Between 1997-2007 she held the position of Research Assistant at the Institute for the Cultural History of Antiquity at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. After her Habilitation at the University of Vienna in 2007 she moved to the Austrian Institute of Archaeology, the directorship of which she assumed in 2009. At the same time, the directorship of the excavations at Ephesos was assigned to her. Awards for Scientist of the Year in 2011 in Austria, and for the best popular scientific book in Austria in 2014, are proof of her engagement in the areas of scientific communication and public outreach. She is a member of the German Archaeological Institute and of the Archaeological Institute of America, as well as numerous national and international scientific and editorial boards, and is a referee for leading research promotion institutions. Visiting professorships at the Ecole Normale Superieur de Paris (2016) and Stanford University (2019) underscore her engagement in the fields of education and teaching, also attested by her supervision of academic degrees at a variety of European universities.


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