Conflict & culture
Understanding threats to heritage
Paperback, 84 pages, illustrated, 21,5 x 28 cm
The success of the future builds on values inherited from the past and appreciation of cultural diversity. Inherited cultural values are better known as cultural heritage. As thoughts and things disappear with time and only a fraction survives for the future, time is the most important dimension in heritage policies. Many objects or structures gain heritage value due to their great age and their rarity. The simple fact that they unexpectedly survived and were rediscovered can turn them into unique wonders of the world.
Other remains of the past, however, are considered heritage by a community, a national state or even international society (represented by UNESCO). They are appreciated for other reasons than simply surviving by accident. They are the product of policy-making and a decision by the contemporary society. Good examples are many of the monuments inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list with a recent history. Such a decisions is almost always contested. Who has actually the right to declare objects or traditions of cultural heritage of general value?
A major reason for this debate is that cultural diversity also means different value systems. So what might be considered important heritage within one tradition might be discarded as trivial and even harmful in another. This is what happened in the destruction of monuments in Iraq and Syria in connection with the conflict between the so-called Islamic State and national governments. The result was the loss of some of the most spectacular buildings of the past, namely the temples of Palmyra and the Neo-Assyrian palaces in Nineveh, Nimrud, and Khorsabad.
This extreme situation provoked a project dealing with the conflicts associated with the construction of cultural heritage as a human value. Scholars from the University of Copenhagen, University of Bologna, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Iaşi/Romania and the NGO Center for Research in Central and Eastern Europe/Białystok in Poland formed a research group that wanted to identify threats to heritage in which conflict situations were most central. But conflicts in the broadest sense, namely both armed conflicts and political conflicts.
The group chose a proactive approach and developed, from 2015–2018 under JPI CH funding, a typology of threats to cultural heritage which hopefully in the future may assist heritage managers and decision makers and lay man in the handling of such threat – the HeAT project.
Conflict & culture discusses some of the cases studied in the HeAT project and the theoretical thoughts behind. They cover a geographical region including the Middle East and Europe with a particular focus on Eastern Europe as here we have experienced dramatic political changes since the beginning of the 20th century and subsequent changes in attitude towards heritage. We have also included scholars from China in order to get an outside view upon our part of the world and recognizing that China has also gone through a long process of changes towards cultural heritage during the past decades.
Who owns the past? – Heritage in armed conflicts in the Middle East
by Ingolf Thuesen
”Eeny meeny miny moe…”
Cultural (heritage) Property and the Protection Gap
by Frederik Rosén
”Once upon a time…”
Constructing narratives to destruct heritage
by Moritz Kinzel
Nubia. A faded beauty
by Bernadeta Schäfer
Submerging cultural heritage. Dams and archaeology in south-eastern Turkey
by Nicolò Marchetti & Federico Zaina
The barren branches of heritage, Re-discovering the archaeological landscape of the Cucuteni Culture in Romania
by Marius Sidoriuc
A contested street corner. About memorial plaques, ideological battles and popular cultural heritage
by Ismar Dedović & Tea Sindbæk Andersen
Polish WWI memorials or WWI memorials in Poland?
by Małgorzata Karczewska
Destruction and creation. The Case of the People’s House in Bucharest
by Nicolae Râmbu & Eugenia Eugenia Zaiţev
Spurious infinity and axiological remembrance. Philosophical approaches on threats to cultural heritage
by Mădălin Onu
Part time farming and part time archaeology
by Wei Huang
Contested cultural heritage above and below ground. The case of Northern Zealand
By Ole Lass Jensen, Kristoffer Schmidt & Esben Aarsleff
Blue Shield Counteracting cultural heritage destruction
by Søren la Cour Jensen