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Protecting Syrian and Iraqi culture topic of Vanderbilt lecture and exhibit

by | Sep. 16, 2015, 5:06 PM

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Monumental arch in the eastern section of Palmyra's colonnade.

Monumental arch in the eastern section of Palmyra's colonnade.

Efforts to protect cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq during the ongoing humanitarian crisis in that area of the world will be the focus of Brian Daniels’ talk Sept. 22 at Vanderbilt’s Cohen Memorial Hall.

Daniels will deliver the Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Lecture, “Protecting Cultural Heritage in Syria and Iraq: Lessons Learned in the Present Crisis,” at 4:10 p.m. in Room 203. A reception will follow his talk in the atrium.

Destruction of the region’s famed archaeological sites, including Palmyra, has prompted an outpouring of international concern. With more than 250,000 dead and millions displaced, all aspects of daily life have been upended, according to Daniels, who co-directs the Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria and Iraq Project. He is also director of research and programs for the Penn Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Pennsylvania Museum.

The Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria and Iraq Project strives to enhance the protection of cultural heritage by supporting professionals and activists in conflict areas. Daniels is leading a National Science Foundation-supported study about the intentional destruction of cultural heritage in conflict. He has worked with local communities on issues surrounding heritage rights and repatriation for more than 15 years. He previously served as manager of the National Endowment for the Humanities regional center initiative at San Francisco State University, where he developed strategies for community engagement and outreach on folklore documentation. Daniels received his doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

The talk will be accompanied by an exhibit in the Cohen Hall rear atrium organized by Betsey Robinson, associate professor of the history of art, and E.B. Armstrong, a junior in the College of Arts and Science. “Syria Widowed: Remembering Palmyra” commemorates recently destroyed monuments in Palmyra, Syria. The exhibit juxtaposes 18th-century engravings of temples, tombs and cityscapes with photos taken by Robinson in 1995. The organizers hope to counter ISIL’s violence with memories of more peaceful times.

The lecture and the exhibit, which remains up through Dec. 10, are free and open to the public. Limited parking is available in Lot 95 outside Cohen Hall.

The Goldberg Lecture is sponsored by the Department of History of Art and the Archaeological Institute of America. The exhibit co-sponsors are History of Art, Anthropology, Religious Studies, Islamic Studies and Classical Studies, as well as the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Divinity School, Fine Arts Gallery and syriaca.org

For more information, call 615-322-2831.

Media Inquiries:
Ann Marie Deer Owens, (615) 322-NEWS
annmarie.owens@vanderbilt.edu




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