HIST 408(F) Archaeology, Politics, and Heritage in the Middle East*

Archaeological sites and artifacts are not merely relics of the past; they can also be potent and conspicuous symbols of national identity for the modern nation-state. In the Middle East, with its rich archaeological heritage, the relationship among politics, nationalism, and archeology has been particularly strong and interesting. Nevertheless, this is a topic that has only recently attracted the attention of historians. In this seminar, we will analyze the experience of several Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, and Iran, and how they utilized archaeology for state-building purposes. We will discuss how archaeology entered the political discourse, the creation of regional and national museums, the interpretation of archaeological artifacts in the arts and literature, and archaeology's role in contested terrains and political disputes. We will also explore the function of archaeology in the region's important tourism industry. Finally, the issue of cultural patrimony and the emotional impact of archaeology in the region will be addressed. Format: seminar. Evaluation will be based on class participation, oral presentations, short papers, and a major research paper. Enrollment limit: 15 (expected: 15). Preference given to History majors. Group C