Heritage Conservation and the Fractured Arab Modernity
The issue of heritage conservation is far from settled in the Arab world, where both history and geography are being contested and reconfigured today. Inspired by European models but driven by resistance to European colonialism, heritage conservation was affected by a protracted contest between traditionalism and modernism, which marked the cultural scene in the last two centuries. The conservation of the historic cities suffered from these conflicting agendas, as well as chronic problems of poverty, overcrowdedness, manipulated planning, and, more recently, real-estate capitalism. To rehabilitate these old cities, a reconceptualizing of heritage conservation is needed that evaluates the various drives behind the idea and the practice and builds upon the thinking that has evolved in the last decade on the right to the city as a right for all its citizens.
Naser Rabbat is Aga Khan Professor and the Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT. Read more about Professor Rabbat at his website profile in More Event Information.