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Symposium: Heritage and the Arab Spring

An international symposium and roundtable
February 28, 2014, 9:30 am–5:30 pm
Conference room, Freer Gallery of Art

The Arab Spring has launched political shifts that were once considered impossible. The movement also has increased global awareness of the power of social movements and the potential of technology and social media as agents of large-scale change. At the same time, the human cost in some places, notably Syria, has been extraordinarily high and continues to climb. Moreover, damage to important historical monuments and urban centers and the looting of archaeological sites has led some to call the Arab Spring a “Dark Autumn” for cultural heritage.

This event brings together archaeologists, anthropologists, architects, architectural historians, and preservation specialists to explore the role of cultural heritage in a new and shifting Middle East. Rather than simply mourning the loss of important objects and buildings or proposing means to save them, the goal of this symposium is to ask difficult and unresolved questions concerning the heritage enterprise. In particular, the event will explore our desire to hold on to monuments and remnants of the past during an era of great upheaval and uncertainty.

This symposium is organized by Michele Lamprakos, University of Maryland, College Park, and Nancy Um, Binghamton University. It is cosponsored by the American Institute for Yemeni Studies, Council of American Overseas Research Centers, Harpur College Dean’s Office, Binghamton University, and the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, University of Maryland, College Park.

Speakers include:
  • Lisa Ackerman, World Monuments Fund
  • Emma Cunliffe, Durham University and UK Committee of the Blue Shield
  • Rosa de Jorio, University of North Florida
  • Najwa Adra, New York University
  • Nathalie Peutz, New York University Abu Dhabi
  • Heghnar Watenpaugh, University of California, Davis
  • Kareem Ibrahim, Takween Integrated Community Development
  • Meinolf Spiekermann, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ (GmbH)
  • Diane Singerman, American University
  • Nasser Rabbat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This event is free and open to the public.
Early RSVPs are recommended but not required.
To RSVP, contact events@caorc.org.

View the full conference program
View paper abstracts and speaker bios

Minaret at Mocha

Detail: Minaret at Mocha, Yemen, 1996
Lynn Davis (American, 1944–)
Selenium-toned gelatin silver print
United States
Purchase S1997.23

The Freer|Sackler is currently closed for renovations, updates, and gallery reinstallation. The popular exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan is still on view in the International Gallery. (Enter through the Ripley Center.) Please join us for our weekend-long reopening celebration on October 14 and 15, 2017.