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Politics of Heritage in the Middle East-Keynote Address: "Musings on Museums as Stewards of the Messo'potamia"

Thursday, February 16, 2012
12:00 AM
The Michigan League, Hussey Room, 911 N. University, Ann Arbor

Keynote Address: Margaret Root, Curator at the Kelsey Museum/Archaeology and Core Faculty, Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art and Archaeology Margaret Cool Root is Professor of Near Eastern and Classical Art and Archaeology at the University of Michigan, holding teaching appointments inthe Department of the History of Art and in the Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art and Archaeology. She is also Curator of Near Eastern and Greek Collections at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, where she has mounted many exhibitions on a wide range of topics (with accompanying publications). Her many awards include a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Her research focuses on issues of art, social history, and historiography particularly involving studies of iconography, style, and identity politics. Specialist realms of analysis are the Achaemenid Persian empire and its complex interactions with ancient Greece. More broadly, she pursues studies both in traditions of monumental art, in traditions of seals as vehicles of stylistic and symbolic agency, all with special attention to problems of understanding intersecting circles of cultural engagement across time, place, and historiographically-charged perception.
The Middle East today looks back at a heritage of multiple layered pasts, some of them as conspicuous as the Pyramids, others hidden in the ground like the works of the Hittites, some ephemeral like the lifestyle of the dwindling nomadic population of Turkey, some apparently permanently engraved like the rituals of churches and mosques. Since the colonial period, social and cultural change has been accelerated in an unprecedented way, and has thus added new layers to the past, and new forms of envisioning and reconstructing it.