Heritage and healing in Syria and Iraq

Zena Kamash
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What should we do with heritage damaged in conflict? Instead of succumbing to the tempting response of ‘reconstruct it, just as it was!’, British Iraqi archaeologist, Dr Zena Kamash, invites readers to think first and foremost about what might be most beneficial to the local communities of Syria and Iraq. Charting a path through the colonial histories of, and into the trauma of war in, Syria and Iraq, this book examines the projects and responses currently on offer and explores their flaws and limitations, including issues of digital colonialism, technological solutionism, geopolitical manoeuvring, media bias and community exclusion. By drawing on current research into the psychology and neuroscience of trauma and trauma recovery, as well as inspiration from artists and creative thinkers who challenge the status quo, readers are encouraged to reflect on how we might use heritage to promote healing and wellbeing for Syrian and Iraqi communities. In so doing, this book asks us to envisage gentler, ethically driven ways to respond to heritage damaged in conflict that recentres people, and their hopes, dreams and needs, into the heart of these debates.

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