Thursday, May 26, 2011

Viva DPhil

Yesterday, I spent a lovely day in Brighton - I had (and bizarrely enjoyed) my DPhil viva, then went to the pub and caught up with friends I don't see nearly often enough. Tomorrow, I'll be back in Kayseri, teaching English.

I began this as a doctoral research blog, and had already been considering changing it (or starting a new one) after my PhD; but now Turkey's banned Blogger [for a while], it's [and that] made my decision for me.

So, at some point in the near future (sooner and more cack-handedly than I'd expected), I'm going to start a new, neater, more general, more informally-written blog on a different platform. I'll find a way to get a post and link on here.

At some point, I have to sort out the paper and electronic copies of my thesis, but here's the abstract for Interrogating Archaeological Ethics in Conflict Zones: Cultural Heritage Work in Cyprus:
Much affected by viewing the Yugoslav Wars' ruins, I resolved to study archaeology in conflict. I wanted to explore archaeology's role in conflict and archaeologists' responsibilities in conflict zones; but unable to conduct such work in Kosova/Kosovo, I went to Cyprus.

Drawing together professional documentation and public education, professional and community interactions and interviews, and cultural heritage site visits, I researched the destruction of community places, the looting of cultural heritage, and the coping strategies of archaeologists.

The key questions of this thesis are:
  • is it legal and ethical to conduct archaeological work in occupied and secessionist territories?
  • How is public knowledge of cultural heritage looting and destruction constructed?
  • What are cultural heritage professionals' responsibilities for knowledge production during conflict? How ought cultural heritage professionals to combat the looting and illicit trading of antiquities?
I have addressed these questions by concentrating upon cultural heritage workers' narratives of looting and destruction from 1955 until the present in professional discussion and mass education.

First, I argue that archaeologists have misinterpreted international law, and through boycotting and blacklisting of rescue archaeology in northern Cyprus, harmed both the profession and the cultural heritage.

Second, I argue that cultural heritage workers have been unwillingly co-opted, or actively complicit in the conflict, in the production of nationalist histories, and thus nationalist communities, therefore in the reproduction of nationalist conflict.

Third, I argue that cultural heritage workers have knowingly contributed to the conflict and its destruction, through their nationalist policies on the paramilitary-dominated illicit antiquities trade.

My conclusions are: that an ethical antiquities policy would cut funding to and thereby reduce conflict-fuelling extremist activity; and that, where they have the freedom to practice it, professional and ethical archaeologies of destruction would promote intracommunal and intercommunal peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment