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Dr. Britt Baillie will be co-chairing a session entitled Archaeology and Cultural Heritage During and After Armed Conflict

last modified Aug 19, 2013 03:03 PM

The session takes place at the European Archaeological Association Annual Meeting in Pilsen on September 8th

Organisers: Emily O’Dell (American University of Beirut, Lebanon), Britt Baillie (University of Cambridge, UK) and Tera Pruitt (University of California, Los Angeles, USA)

This session discusses archaeology and cultural heritage in the context of armed conflict, revolution, occupation and drone warfare in the 21st century. It seeks to disentangle the way that heritage is impacted during and after the rupture of conflict. This session is divided into two sections.

Section 1: Impact and Ownership of Heritage During Armed Conflict This section considers how cultural heritage during times of armed conflict becomes ensnared in a web of hostilities that threatens not only its preservation but its very existence. We ask, in times of violent political rupture and chaotic social upheaval in the 21st century, how has material culture been used as a weapon, and how has it suffered as a 'victim'/target? In a post-ownership world, what claims do foreign governments, international cultural organisations, archaeologists, and religious scholars make to heritage sites to save them from destruction, and on what grounds? To what audiences and by what media do archaeologists attempt to explain conflict, the necessity of preservation, and whether or not their roles must change during times of armed conflict from preservers to protectors?

Section 2: Re-Imagining Heritage After Conflict When the violent conflict ceases, can we disentangle the way that the past, present and future of heritage is changed or re-imagined? What role does 'orphaned heritage' play for the 'new' communities that live around these sites today? How can heritage interpretation in tense post-war 'transition periods' move beyond reified ethnic categories like 'perpetrator/victim' to more nuanced understandings of identity and roles such as: collaborators, boundary crossers, bystanders and witnesses? How have forms of alternative heritage such as pseudoscientific pyramids, memorials of pop-cultural icons become popular? How are the needs of war tourists shaping the 'post conflict' 'heritage package'? How are technology and media being used as tools to (re)fashion heritage and offer counter-narratives?

Dr. Britt Baillie will present a paper entitled  Heritage in 'conflict-time' in the contested city of Vukovar in the Heritage Issues in Europe's Historic Cities  session of the European Archaeological Association’s Annual Conference on Friday the 6th of September 2013

Abstract : In contested cities, history and heritage are manipulated and selectively mined to serve exclusivist claims to rights and territory. The term ‘post-conflict’ is a misnomer often applied to these cities—conflating the cessation of armed violence (although not structural violence) with ‘peacetime’. Yet, in these cities ethnic divisions persist and tensions continue to run high—the city lingers in the limbo of ‘conflict-time’—a term defined not by the presence or absence of violence but rather by an on-going sense of heightened unease and contestation. Recent experiences of violence, ethnic cleansing and incarceration make the ‘frontlines’ between different memory discourses even more entrenched. Unlike juridical processes, truth and reconciliation programmes and other mechanism for addressing the past which are subject to public scrutiny, Croatia—like most other nations—has not developed analogous expectations for heritage management (Brett,et al 2008:2). Interpretation at heritage sites are not obliged to take into account alternative discourses, to serve the needs of the minority ‘public’ or to adhere to any code of conduct. This paper will portray how heritage in Vukovar has been used to provide a sense of justice for the ‘In’ group whilst reifying the differences between ethnic groups. It will explore how (in future) collective memory could be used to assist the individualization of guilt and to move beyond the dichotomized ‘perpetrator’/’victim’ framework."

Dr. Britt Baillie will present a paper entitled “Chronocentrism: Memory and Victimhood in 'conflict-time'” at the Wageningen International Peace Conference 2013