Cultural Heritage in Conflict: World Heritage Cities of the Middle East

Research output: Other contribution

Abstract

Following World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the political and population dynamics of the Middle East changed dramatically. New national borders, defined either by western mandates or by local sovereignties, included peoples and architectural legacies from a variety of religions and ethnicities. Under the unifying pressures of national ideologies, the diverse groups of the Middle East that coexisted under the Ottoman Empire were often pitted against each other. These negative dynamics among people were expressed as conflicts involving the built heritage of the 'other.' These conflicts sometimes took center stage, sometimes occurred stealthily and under the disguise of development and progress, and sometimes out of lack of respect for the past in general.

One of the core ideals of the World Heritage Convention has been to create unity among people by identifying outstanding examples of heritage that are 'universal' to humankind. By looking at the conflicted and contested World Heritage Cities in the Middle East, it may be possible to come to an understanding of the degree of success or failure of this premise. By understanding the role of conflict in heritage, preservationists can become better advocates for built heritage and more efficient mediators of heritage disputes. Moreover, the understanding of reasons and modes of conflict can lead to the emergence of a new path for World Heritage to pursue.
Original languageEnglish
TypeThesis
Number of pages116
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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