Kirsten Scheid

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Napoléon was the first conqueror to “legalize” looting by forcing the vanquished to sign contracts surrendering historic art objects. The recent selling off and dispersal of the collection of Iraq Museum, was presented as the simple work of market forces, but it continues and extends Napoleonic forms of looting.
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This dossier of original essays examines the demolition of monuments in the Middle East from the Napoléonic era to the present. The authors describe the impact of obliterating architecture on our psyches, cultures, philosophies, and historiographies. Tracing the mediatization of demolition, and its traps and tropes, such as sensationalism and anthropmorphization, these essays also explore the agencies and capacities of threatened monuments.

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