UNLV’s department of anthropology presents: When Archaeology and Politics Collide: professional ethical codes, world heritage and the responsibility to protect, a presentation by Dr. Lynn Swartz Dodd, curator, Archaeology Research Center and lecturer of Middle East Studies, University of Southern California.
Jerusalem was a backwater town known to the Egyptians as early as 4000 years ago; located on a minor route from desert to sea, with little to commend it aside from few fields and a productive spring sitting amid stony hills.
Today, its Old City is a World Heritage site, and perhaps the most contested place on our planet, with real estate values rivaling the richest cities, population density higher than Calcutta, pilgrimage and tourism calling millions each year, and defense of it costing billions.
Many believe Jerusalem is a tinderbox and fear that another spark from the friction created by Israelis and Palestinians and tourists and pilgrims competing for control soon will unleash a firestorm of inter-group violence on a scale not yet experienced. What is our "Responsibility to Protect" in this situation, and how might the ethical policies of our professional organizations shape our responses to saving this World Heritage site and the people who live in and around it?
The international norm "Responsibility to Protect" puts states in the position of ensuring human rights; it encodes values and demands ethical responses that affect people, corporations, and nations; its goal is to create a means by which states might intervene, to enable early warning systems and to diffuse conflict. In this presentation, Dr. Dodd considers how activities related to heritage management, conservation and restoration of the lived-in fabric of the crowded Old City of Jerusalem offer opportunities for ethical professional engagement that could diffuse conflict and avoid future genocide.