Culture and Heritage after Palmyra

Discussion: Culture and Heritage after Palmyra

Thursday, October 29, 11am-12:30pm
Low Memorial Library Rotunda
Columbia University

Focusing on how notions of culture are being challenged, and maybe even redefined, through the current destruction of cultural objects and historical monuments in the war in Iraq and Syria, this event will consider alternative ways of thinking about contemporary culture and the role of heritage in it, with the hope of advancing a more critical and informed dialogue across campus. Organized by GSAPP Associate Professor of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation Jorge Otero-Pailos.

Watch the panel on You-Tube here.

Participants include:
Zainab Bahrani
Edith Porada Associate Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
Zainab Bahrani studied the History of Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University where she earned her MA and PhD degrees in a joint program of Ancient Near Eastern and Greek art and archaeology. Prior to her appointment as the Edith Porada Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, Bahrani taught at the University of Vienna in Austria, The State University of New York, at Stony Brook, New York and was a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Near Eastern Antiquities Department from 1989-1992.
Professor Bahrani is the author and editor of twelve books, including Women of Babylon (London: Routledge, 2001) The Graven Image: Representation in Babylonia and Assyria (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003), Rituals of War: the body and violence in Mesopotamia (New York: Zone Books, 2008) which was awarded the James Henry Breasted Book Prize by the American Historical Association for the best book in any field of history prior to 1000 CE. Her 2014 book, The Infinite Image: Art, Time and the Aesthetic Dimension in Antiquity (Reaktion/University of Chicago Press), based on her 2010-2011 Slade Lecture in the Fine Arts at Oxford, won the Lionel Trilling Book prize.
Another aspect of Bahrani’s work has been in the area of monument preservation, conservation and the politics of cultural heritage. Some of her academic publications focus on this subject from a theoretical perspective. Since 2003, Bahrani has also written widely on the destruction of the cultural heritage of Iraq in the popular press, in publications such as The Nation, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal.
In the summer of 2004 Bahrani was Senior Advisor to Iraq’s Ministry of Culture. During that time she conducted a survey of war damage at the archaeological site of Babylon and instigated the state of Iraq’s official request for the removal of the military base from the site. Bahrani considers archaeological fieldwork to be central to her work. She is the Director of a Columbia University survey project that covers Iraq, Syria and Turkey, Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments.

Daniel Bertrand Monk
George R. and Myra T. Cooley Professor of Peace & Conflict Studies, and Professor Of Geography, Colgate University
Daniel Bertrand Monk holds the George R. and Myra T. Cooley Chair in Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate University, where he is a professor of Geography and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.  He is the author of An Aesthetic Occupation as well as a number of other studies on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and on strategic interaction in contested territory. Together with Mike Davis he has edited Evil Paradises: The Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism (New Press, 2007). Together with Jacob Mundy he has also edited:  The Post-Conflict Environment: Intervention and Critique (University of Michigan Press, 2014). Monk has been awarded a Mac-Arthur Foundation Fellowship in International Peace and Security, as well as a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship for his research on the doxa of contemporary conflict.

Nicolai Ouroussoff
Columbia GSAPP, former architecture critic, New York Times
Nicolai Ouroussoff is a writer and critic living in New York. He is currently writing a book on architecture, culture and politics from the birth of Modernism to today, which will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He is a former architecture critic of the New York Times , were he wrote widely on architecture and urbanism in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and where he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2006 and 2011. Previously, he was the architecture critic of the Los Angeles Times , where he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for a series on the cultural decline of Baghdad. Ouroussoff’s work has also appeared in publications such as Harper’s Magazine, Art Forum, the New York Observer and Vanity Fair. He received a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in 1985 and a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture in 1992.

Laurie Rush
Cultural Resources Manager, US Army
Dr. Laurie W. Rush is the Cultural Resources Manager and Army Archaeologist stationed at Fort Drum, NY, and is a Board Member of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield.  She holds her degrees from Northwestern University (Ph.D. and MA), and Indiana University Bloomington.  At Fort Drum she manages cultural property on over 100,000 acres of military land, including nearly 1,000 archaeological sites including five historic villages and over 360 farmsteads lost during the 1941 expansion of the military base; she also manages the LeRay Mansion Historic District.  Dr. Rush educates deploying personnel about cultural property protection during military operations, and also specializes in the prehistory of the Northeast and Great Lakes Region, and the local history of Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence Counties, NY.  As Native American Affairs Liaison for the Garrison Commander, she manages all diplomatic relations between the Tenth Mountain Division and federally recognized tribes with ancestral ties to Fort Drum land.

Ian B Straughn
Joukowsky Family Middle East Studies Librarian, Brown University
Ian B Straun’s research and teaching interests focus on the emerging study of the archaeology of the Muslim World. His work has concentrated on understanding how Muslim societies have been shaped by the landscapes which they have constructed and conceived and by their relationship to the material world. A major aspect of his research has consisted of developing a methodology for bringing the archaeological and textual records into a productive dialogue about past societies. Additionally, his work has sought to understand the relationship of materiality to religious experience and the place of archaeology in the study of religion.