Beyond Destruction: Archaeology & Cultural Heritage in the Middle East and North Africa

CULTURAL HERITAGE SYMPOSIUM: Beyond Destruction: Archaeology & Cultural Heritage in the Middle East and North Africa

11 March 2016, Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology, Keynote address by Patty Gerstenblith

12 March 2016, James Lau Auditorium 106 Stanley Hall

Video available online here.

Abstract: Beyond Destruction

The well‐publicized destruction of antiquities at the hands of the self-proclaimed Islamic State has highlighted the urgent, long‐standing need for a global discussion of cultural heritage protection in the Middle East. This symposium aims to move public discourse around cultural heritage beyond reactions to looting and destruction and to engage more deeply with responses from academic and governmental institutions. The program will also focus on emerging currents within the discipline of Middle Eastern archaeology that emphasize a well‐rounded approach to cultural heritage and ask invited scholars and practitioners, government officials, artists, and the public to engage both with archaeological remains and the living communities in which research is conducted.

The event is being held in partnership with an exhibition on Palmyra.

8:30am // Registration and Refreshments

On-site registration available; advance registration required for lunch.

9:15am // Welcome and opening remarks

Sabrina Maras, Berkeley History of Art and Near Eastern Studies

9:30am // Session 1: Politics

An exploration of the topic of cultural heritage—and cultural heritage destruction—within political discourse related to the Middle East and North Africa. How is cultural heritage being used to further the agendas of the various political groups involved, and what is the legal framework within which these agendas are being pursued? How do we bring those frameworks into the classroom, the courtroom, the field, and to the public?

Session chair: Carla Shapreau, Berkeley School of Law

  • Amr Al‐Azm
  • Patty Gerstenblith
  • Susan Penacho
  • Susan Wolfinbarger

12:00pm // Break and Pop-Up Palmyra Expo


Lunch will be provided with advance registration during this crowd-sourced art exhibition in which the Berkeley community seeks to explore and respond to cultural heritage and its destruction, preservation, creation, and celebration. For more information on how to have your work included in Pop-Up Palmyra, see below for details and a web form.

1:00pm // Keynote

Monica Hanna

Introduced by Carol Redmount, Chair, Berkeley Near Eastern Studies

Q & A Moderated by Rita Lucarelli, Berkeley Near Eastern Studies

2:00pm // Session 2: Practice

What role do practitioners play in the conversation about cultural heritage? The panel will focus on emerging currents within the discipline of Middle Eastern archaeology that emphasize a well‐rounded approach to cultural heritage that engages both with archaeological remains and the living communities in which research is conducted.Who are the stakeholders, and what is at stake? In what ways do we study, cherish, create, and destroy heritage?

Session chair: Lisa Maher, Berkeley Anthropology


  • Salam Al Kuntar
  • Morehshin Allahyari
  • Dana DePietro
  • Soroor Ghanimati
  • Michael Harrower
  • Allison Mickel
  • Cinzia Perlingieri
  • Barry Threw

4:30pm // Concluding Remarks

Benjamin Porter, Berkeley Near Eastern Studies and Director, Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology

Full website here.