|Thursday, February 28, 2013||4:00PM – 6:00PM||208N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place
Archaeology and archaeologists are routinely deployed as “agents of the state”, acting as official and unofficial ambassadors on behalf of their countries of origin. As a result of coalition forces’ failure to protect cultural institutions in Iraq, unwanted operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan and recent inactivity in protecting the cultural resources and people in places like Mali and Syria, it is essential for the US to present a kinder, gentler, caring face. What better way to reconfigure negative perceptions than through archaeology and the conservation and investigation of the common history of humankind? Archaeology and archaeologists can and do play a vital role in furthering diplomatic goals and agendas in countries and areas of the world where an apolitical, non-military appearance is very desirable. Through an examination of various programs at the U.S. Department of State this discussion will assesses the interplay between archaeology and cultural diplomacy in shaping U.S. cultural heritage policy and diplomatic relations in the international arena.
Morag Kersel is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at DePaul University. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge (2006). Her research interests include the consumption and presentation of archaeological artifacts from the Eastern Mediterranean. She has excavated and conducted field research in Canada, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, and the U.S. She currently co-directs archaeological excavations at the Chalcolithic site of Marj Rabba in the Lower Galilee, and the “Follow the Pots” project in the Dead Sea Plain of Jordan. Kersel (with Christina Luke) are the authors of the recently published” US Cultural Diplomacy and Archaeology: Soft Power, Hard Heritage” (2012).