War on Culture: The Destruction of Cultural Property During Civil Wars
AdvisorBraithwaite, Jessica Maves
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractActs of violence against civilians during conflict is a topic that has been examined increasingly in the literature on civil war. However, a systematic study on the destruction of cultural and religious sites as a strategic means to achieve territorial control has not yet been explored. I examine this aspect of civilian targeting in this project, and I argue that in many cases, combatants use cultural property as a tool to gain territory, coerce civilians, public perception, and degrade the social fabric of a given religion or population. In preliminary research, I have observed that destruction of a population‘s cultural property indicates and precurses a willingness to destroy human lives. Through a cross-national empirical analysis of civil wars in Iraq and Syria after 1990, I anticipate that the destruction of culturally significant objects and sites is not collateral damage during civil war, but rather intentional actions through which combatants achieve and exert power.
Degree ProgramHonors College