Religious Cultural Heritage: Concepts and Issues in the Modern Middle East

Religious Cultural Heritage: Concepts and Issues in the Modern Middle East
Contributed By: events coordinator
Organizing Institution: The Aga Khan University
Contact email: [email protected]
Start Date: November 24, 2023 (13:15)
End Date: December 1, 2023 (16:00 GMT)
Cost: £55 - £79
– California – United States
This unique two-day introductory course examines the Middle Eastern Religious Cultural Heritage (RCH) conceptually and practically. Through different case studies and controversial issues, we offer the participants an exceptional opportunity to compare several local voices with the dominant international perspective. By provoking the RCH’s connectedness to the modern challenges of ethnicity, professionalism, nationalism, and sectarianism, we aim to contextualise this type of heritage as a living and contemporary construct of its communities within their socio-political and religious milieus.
Aims of the course
  • Problematise the religious and cultural connections of the Middle Eastern RCH within the contexts of its modern communities
  • Scrutinise the dominant international cultural heritage perspective of RCH by introducing authentic local voices.
  • Contextualise the Middle Eastern RCH within the historical developments of the modern Middle Eastern communities
  • Examine the Middle Eastern RCH as contact zones for peaceful and controversial encounters
Course Leaders
Professor Dick Douwes holds the Chair of Global History at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam. He studied Languages and Cultures of the Middle East at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. From 1994 to 1998, he was coordinator of the joint Indonesian-Netherlands’ programme Cooperation in Islamic Studies (INIS) at Leiden University. From 1998 onwards, he was academic coordinator, and later executive director, of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) and editor of the ISIM Newsletter/Review and ISIM Paper Series. He has published on late Ottoman history in Syria and on religious plurality in the Middle East, as well as on Muslims in Western Europe. Currently, he researches change in shrine culture and politics in Syria and the Lebanon, including the destruction of shrines.
Mohamad Meqdad is a PhD student at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, Erasmus University, Rotterdam. His main research focuses on religious cultural heritage at times of crisis. In 2006, Mohamad received his BA in Archaeology and Museum Studies from Aleppo University, Syria. He also took part in several national and international archaeological expeditions in Syria (2002-2008), where he worked on discovering its rich cultural heritage and preserving it for future generations. In 2010, Mohamad received an MA in Muslim Cultures from AKU-ISMC, London, with a focus on researching the display of Muslim material cultures in international museums, specifically at the British Museum’s John Addis Islamic Gallery. Between 2011-2019, he was Arabic editor, and later acting manager, of the Muslim Civilisations Abstracts Project (MCA) at AKU-ISMC.
Date and time 
24 November | 13:15 – 16:00 (London time)
01 December | 13:30 – 16:00 (London time)
£79 professionals | £55 students, AKU alumni and staff. The number of tickets is limited
The course will be delivered via Zoom. Readings and further details will be provided later upon registration.
This course will not be recorded.

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