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Cultural Heritage in War

The destruction of cultural property in war zones is of pressing concern. The recent and on-going conflicts in the Middle East have featured both the deliberate, symbolic destruction of cultural artefacts and sites by ISIS, such as the destruction of the Temple of Bel, and the incidental damaging of such sites during combat, such as the damage to the site of Ancient Babylon by the US military. The issues raised by cultural heritage protection are a huge challenge to international law, theories of the ethics of war, and theories of heritage.

This seminar brings together speakers from philosophy, archaeology, political science and international law. Topics to be discussed include the protection of heritage as a just cause for war, identity wars, military policy and heritage, the relationship between heritage and violence, and compensatory duties for damaged cultural sites.

The presentations from this workshop are available here.




09.30 – 09.45 Welcome and Introduction

9. 45 – 10.45 Helen Frowe (Philosophy, Stockholm University) ‘Cultural Heritage as a Just Cause for War’

11.00 – 11.15 Coffee

11.15 – 12.15 Frederik Rosen (Senior Research, Centre for Advanced Studies at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters) ‘War and cultural property in the era of identity wars’

13.30 – 14.30 Joakim Kreutz (Political Science, Stockholm University) “Who attacks heritage in war, and what effect does it have on subsequent violence? Findings from global research on attacks on sacred spaces, 1989-2014”

14.40 – 15.40 Martin Hamilton (Centre for International Law and Operational Law, Swedish Defence University) “TBC”

15.40 – 16.00 Coffee

16.00 – 17.00 Derek Matravers (Philosophy, Open University) ‘The Duty to Compensate for Injustice as Applied to Reconstruction’


The seminar is free to attend, but registration is required. Please email to register.

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