Cultural Heritage and Conflict

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Course Title

Cultural Heritage and Conflict


Brian Daniels

Institution Where Taught

University of Pennsylvania

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Course Description

Intentional destruction of cultural heritage is designed to erase the presence of a people in history and has become an all too familiar feature of the devastation wrought by contemporary violence and "ethnic cleansing." Recent cases appear frequently in news headlines and include such well-known examples as the 2001 demolition of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, the 2012 destruction of Sufi shrines in Timbuktu, Mali, and the recent obliteration of historic sites across Syria and Iraq. This course explores this phenomenon by examining such questions as: Why is cultural heritage targeted in conflict? Under what circumstances? By whom? In so doing, we will engage with readings that discuss the historical development of the international laws and norms that aim to protect cultural heritage during conflict and examples successful and unsuccessful humanitarian interventions.

Syllabus Available



Program requirement for the Certificate in Cultural Heritage Management. Course description available on the University of Pennsylvania Department of Anthropology website. Please contact department or instructor for further information.

Additional tags: destruction of cultural heritage; humanitarian intervention


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