Recovering Afghanistan's Past: Cultural Heritage in Context

This conference is organized in conjunction with the "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul" exhibit which will be on display at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, October 24, 2008 - January 25, 2009. For more information regarding the organization of the exhibit by National Geographic Society, please visit http:// www.nationalgeographic.com/ mission/ afghanistan-treasures/.

This conference is free and open to the public. No pre-registration is required. The cafe at the International House opens at 7:15 on Friday and 9:30 on Saturday. The auditorium will open at 8:30 a.m. both days.



DESCRIPTION

Description

The "Recovering Afghanistan's Past: Cultural Heritage in Context" conference will focus on Afghanistan's cultural heritage in its past and present contexts and bring together scholars from various disciplines to address, among others, the following issues:

  • The recovered objects from the National Museum
  • Recent research and preservation/renovation projects
  • Challenges of cultural heritage protection
  • The complexities of 'targeted' heritage
  • Cultural heritage and identity

The almost three-decade long crisis in Afghanistan has had, in addition to tremendous human loss and suffering, an enormous impact on the country's cultural heritage. Since the 1920s, systematic joint excavations have been carried out by archaeologists from Afghanistan in collaboration with teams from France, Italy, the former Soviet Union, Japan, and the U.S. Over the course of 50 years, thousands of archaeological sites were uncovered, highlighting the country's rich archaeological past. Many of these archaeological sites — at the heart of nearly two millennia of Silk Road trade and exchange — have been pillaged, vandalized or destroyed. The willful destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas has received much international attention, and the National Museum in Kabul has been looted and heavily damaged, many of its objects destroyed. In addition to the destruction brought about by ideological struggles and acts of war, a more subtle vanquishing of the rich archaeological heritage of Afghanistan is occurring. Many objects are disappearing through a well-organized and well-funded illegal market, funneled into the hands of private collectors and unlikely ever again to see the light of day. One bright spot in this era of destruction has been the recent rediscovery of major archaeological finds, previously the core of the National Museum in Kabul's holdings, thought to have been looted or destroyed.

The "Recovering Afghanistan's Past: Cultural Heritage in Context" conference seeks to highlight the importance and current state of Afghanistan's artistic, archaeological and monumental remains and their centrality in the global discourse on cultural heritage. The conference will focus on objects from the National Museum of Afghanistan and highlight the sites which lie at the core of the "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures" exhibit: Ai Khanum, Tillya Tepe and Begram. The conference also will address the damage that was inflicted upon archaeological and monumental sites, and the ways in which some of the archaeological remains of the three ancient sites were secured and subsequently recovered. In addition to outlining the importance of these sites in understanding the rich cultural heritage of Afghanistan, the conference will also highlight new research that has been conducted in Afghanistan over the last number of years. Further, the conference will take the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas as the starting point of a discussion on the complexities of iconoclastic episodes, addressing the question of how cultural heritage is defined and appropriated by competing ethnic, national and international groups. Finally, the conference will outline cultural heritage projects that have taken place in Afghanistan since 2001 and address the challenges of fieldwork and preservation of pre-Islamic and Islamic monuments today, delving deeper into the complexities of the legal framework in place to guard against the destruction and looting of sites.

The "Recovering Afghanistan's Past" conference is organized in conjunction with the "Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul" exhibit which will be on display at several venues in the United States in 2008-2009, including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, October 24, 2008 - January 25, 2009. This exhibit highlights the objects thought to have been looted from the National Museum of Afghanistan, but later rediscovered in the vault of the Presidential Palace. The exhibit centers on three major collections — Ai Khanum, Tillya-tepe, and Begram — which represent important archeological discoveries that have informed our understanding of the development of ancient Afghan cultures.

SCHEDULE

Schedule

Schedule subject to change — please check for updates

Thursday, November 13, 2008
Kick-Off Event at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

10:00 am - 9:00 pm - Afghan exhibition viewing, Ground Floor Galleries

6:00 pm - 6:30 pm - Rebab music by Aziz Herawi, Samsung Hall

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm - Panel Discussion in the Afghan Dari language only, Samsung Hall

Space in Samsung Hall is limited. To attend the Dari language panel discussion, please RSVP to (415) 581-3665 or e-mail rsvp "at" apaa.info.

Admission to the Asian Art Museum is $5 after 5:00 pm on Thursdays; $12 during the day, and free every first Sunday of the month and to members of the Asian Art Museum.


Friday, November 14, 2008 - The "Hidden Treasures" in Context
Welcome Remarks
9:00 am - 9:30 am

Sanjyot Mehendale, Conference Organizer
Pierre-François Mourier, Consul General of France
Atiqullah Atifmal, Consul General of Afghanistan

Panel I: The Importance of Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage
9:30 am - 12:00 pm

David Stronach: Chair
Mohammad Qayoumi: The Future of Afghanistan's Past: Valuing Cultural Heritage
Zemaryalai Tarzi: Treasures of Afghanistan, As Seen Through the Eyes of a Former Official in Charge of the Archaeological Heritage of Afghanistan
Fredrik Hiebert: Afghanistan's Hidden Treasures: Inventorying the Kabul Museum Collection Held in the Presidential Palace

Panel II: The Archaeology of Ancient Bactria
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Andrew Stewart: Chair
Fredrik Hiebert: The Bronze Age Origins of Bactrian Civilization
Osmund Bopearachchi: Hellenism in Central Asia and its Impact on Gandhâran Buddhist Art

Panel III: The "Golden Hill" and the Kushans
3:15 pm - 5:00 pm

Joanna Williams: Chair
Veronique Schiltz: The Royal Necropolis of Tillya-Tepe and the Iconography of Power
Esther Jacobson-Tepfer: Image and Order in the Art of Tillya-Tepe and their Early Nomadic Sources
Sanjyot Mehendale: The Begram Carvings: Itinerancy and the Problems of "Indian" Art


Saturday, November 15, 2008 - Art and Archaeology of Afghanistan
Panel IV: New Archaeological Discoveries at Bamiyan
9:00 am - 10:30 am

Pat Berger: Chair
Zemaryalai Tarzi: Results of the 2002-2008 Surveys and Archaeological Campaigns in Bamiyan
Richard Salomon: Recent Buddhist Manuscript Discoveries from Bamiyan: Controversies and Discoveries

Panel V: Cultural Heritage in Context
10:45 am - 12:30 pm

Munis Faruqui: Chair
Barry Flood: From Dystopia to Utopia: Shifting Meanings of the Minaret of Jam
Soheila Amirsoleimani: Clothing in the Early Ghaznavid Courts: Hierarchy and Mystification
Wali Ahmadi: Resistance, Dissent, and Despair in the Age of Interminable Trauma: Reflections on Contemporary Poetry of Afghanistan

Panel VI: Preservation and Protection
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Sanjyot Mehendale: Chair
Omar Sultan: Cultural Heritage in Afghanistan
Nadia Tarzi: Preserving the Cultural Identity of Afghanistan, a Collective Effort
Charles C. Kolb: Preserving Afghanistan's Archaeological and Other Cultural Resources

Panel VII: Roundtable on Cultural Heritage
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Roundable moderated by Mohammad Qayoumi
Participants:
Wali Ahmadi
Soheila Amirsoleimani
Omar Sultan
Nadia Tarz
Zemaryalai Tarzi

PARTICIPANTS

Participants

Prof. Wali Ahmadi, Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley

Prof. Soheila Amirsoleimani, University of Utah

Prof. Pat Berger, History of Art, UC Berkeley

Prof. Osmund Bopearachchi, Sorbonne University - Paris IV, France

Prof. Munis Faruqui, South/South East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley

Prof. Barry Flood, New York University

Dr. Fredrik Hiebert, National Geographic Society

Prof. Esther Jacobson-Tepfer, University of Oregon

Dr. Charles C. Kolb, National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, DC

Dr. Sanjyot Mehendale, Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley

Dr. Mohammad Qayoumi, President, Cal State University-East Bay

Dr. Richard Salomon, University of Washington

Dr. Veronique Schiltz, National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris

Prof. Andrew Stewart, History of Art, UC Berkeley

Prof. David Stronach, Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley

Dr. Omar Sultan, Archaeologist

Ms. Nadia Tarzi, Executive Director, Association for the Protection of Afghan Archaeology

Prof. Zemaryalai Tarzi, Strasbourg University, France

Prof. Joanna Williams, History of Art, UC Berkeley

DIRECTIONS

Directions

International House is on the University of California, Berkeley campus at the corner of Piedmont Avenue and Bancroft Way. Due to limited parking availability around campus, we recommend that you use public transportation whenever possible (see BART and AC Transit information below).

Address
2299 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720-2320
Front desk telephone: (510) 642-9490

International House

Maps


Public Transit information
BART (Subway)

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains operate from Fremont, Richmond, Pittsburg and Millbrae. A map indicating the route and stops of each train is located at each station.

  • Get off at the "Downtown Berkeley" station.
  • The campus shuttle (M-F only) from Downtown Berkeley is located across from BART at Center & Shattuck in front of Bank of America. The R-Line stops in front of I-House and costs $1.00.
AC Transit

AC Transit bus service provides transportation for commuters to and from San Francisco and throughout Alameda and Western Contra Costa County. There are several AC bus lines that come near the campus area such as lines: #65; #52; #51; #43; #40; #15; #9; F and U.


Driving directions

Below you'll find directions for reaching the Berkeley campus by car.

From San Francisco, the San Francisco airport, and points south on northbound Highway 101

  • Follow U.S. 101 north and then switch to I-80 east, and take it across the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge
  • Stay left as you get off the Bay Bridge and take I-80 east heading to Berkeley & Sacramento
  • Exit I-80 onto University Avenue
  • Continue east on University Avenue for approximately 1.5 miles to Oxford Street at the western edge of the campus
  • Turn right on Oxford Street (which becomes Fulton Street)
  • Turn left on Durant Avenue
  • Turn left on Piedmont Avenue

From Oakland, the Oakland airport, Hayward or San Jose on northbound I-880

  • Stay in left center lanes on I-880 when you reach downtown Oakland
  • Exit I-80 east (to Berkeley)
  • Exit I-80 at University Avenue
  • Continue east on University Avenue for approximately 1.5 miles to Oxford Street
  • Turn right on Oxford Street (which becomes Fulton Street)
  • Turn left on Durant Avenue
  • Turn left on Piedmont Avenue

From the East Bay on eastbound Highway 24

  • From Highway 24 exit at Telegraph Ave. and take a right on Telegraph.
  • Continue on Telegraph
  • Turn right on Durant Avenue
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From the East Bay on northbound Highway 13

  • Highway 13 ends and becomes Tunnel Road
  • Continue on Tunnel Road. Tunnel Road becomes Ashby Avenue near the Claremont Hotel. Continue on Ashby.
  • Turn right on College Avenue
  • Turn left on Piedmont Avenue

From the East Bay on I-80 bound either east or west

  • Exit University Avenue
  • Continue east on University Avenue for approximately 1.5 miles to Oxford Street
  • Turn right on Oxford Street (which becomes Fulton Street)
  • Turn left on Durant Avenue
  • Turn left on Piedmont Avenue

From the East Bay on westbound I-580

  • Exit I-80 East (to Berkeley & Sacramento)
  • Exit at University Avenue
  • Continue east on University Avenue for approximately 1.5 miles to Oxford Street
  • Turn right on Oxford Street (which becomes Fulton Street)
  • Turn left on Durant Avenue
  • Turn left on Piedmont Avenue


UC Berkeley Parking Information

Click here for UC Berkeley parking information.