Sidore Lecture: "Disposable Landscapes, Disposable Heritage: Politics of the Ancient Past in the Anthropocene"
Lecture presented by Dr. Ömür Harmanşah, Associate Professor of Art History, University of Illinois, Chicago’s School of Art and Art History.
Ömür Harmanşah’s current research focuses on the history of landscapes in the Middle East and the politics of ecology, place, and heritage in the age of the Anthropocene. As an archaeologist and an architectural historian of the ancient Near East, Harmansah specializes in the art, architecture, and material culture of Anatolia, Syria, and Mesopotamia during the Bronze and Iron Ages. He is the author of two monographs, Cities and the Shaping of Memory in the Ancient Near East (Cambridge University Press, 2013), and Place, Memory, and Healing: An Archaeology of Anatolian Rock Monuments (Routledge, 2015). Since 2010, Harmansah has been directing Yalburt Yaylasi Archaeological Landscape Research Project, a diachronic regional survey project addressing questions of place and landscape in Konya Province of west-central Turkey. He is currently the Principal Investigator for the 3-year multi-institutional collaborative project entitled “Political Ecology as Practice: A Regional Approach to the Anthropocene,” supported by the Humanities Without Walls consortium.
This year's topic for the Sidore Lecture Series is "Who Owns the Past?"
While human lives are at risk every day, so too is the cultural heritage created by past cultures and societies, ones that are important not only for scholarly interest but also for the identity of present cultures. Some questions speakers will address over the year are 'Why do we—and should we—care about ancient monuments and culture when confronted with similarly urgent problems with what might be called ‘real-life’ consequences? And if we decide that the past is worth preserving, who has the right and responsibility to take on these challenges, and how can such preservation be effectively accomplished? The series will focus on cultural preservation and its challenges in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
The Saul O Sidore Memorial Lecture Series was established in 1965 in memory of Saul O Sidore of Manchester, New Hampshire. The purpose of the series is to offer the University community and the state of New Hampshire programs that raise critical and sometimes controversial issues facing our society. The University of New Hampshire Center for the Humanities sponsors the programs.