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Conference to Focus on ISIS and Cultural Heritage Crisis

February 12, 2016

A one-day conference organized by the Department of Art and Archaeology and the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies will focus on ISIS and the Cultural Heritage Crisis of Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has caused untold damage to the cultural heritage of the region. As a result of the fighting, countless monuments have been destroyed, archaeological sites looted, and priceless manuscript collections lost. This conference seeks to understand the nature and scope of the damage by bringing together a distinguished group of scholars from several fields. The goal is to not merely explain what has been lost, but why ISIS engages in this behavior, what initiatives are underway to document and stem the damage, and how international law might be reconceived to contain future crises like this.

The speakers are: Alexander Bauer (Department of Anthropology, Queens College, and CUNY Graduate Center), Cole Bunzel (Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University), Michael Cook (Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University), Michael Danti (Department of Archaeology, Boston University, and American Center of Oriental Research), Samuel Helfont (Program in International Relations, University of Pennsylvania), Charles Henry (Council on Library and Information Resources), David Magier (associate university librarian for collection development, Princeton University), and Stephen Urice (School of Law, University of Miami).

The conference will take place in 106 McCormick Hall from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on February 12, 2016.

The organizers of the conference are Professor Esther da Costa Meyer; Stanley Katz, director of the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies; and Christian Sahner ’07, Ph.D. 2015, who is currently a research fellow at St John’s College, University of Cambridge.

Cosponsored by: Department of Classics; Department of Near Eastern Studies; Department of Politics; Program in Near Eastern Studies; Lichtenstein Institute for Self-Determination; Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice; Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund; Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia; Archaeological Institute of America.