Religious Cultural Heritage: Concepts and Issues in the Modern Middle East

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Online Event

The Aga Khan University Institute For The Study Of Muslim Civilisations is organizing a two day course (11th and 18th of December) on the theme of Religious Cultural Heritage (RCH) in the Middle East. In this course, taught by Prof. Dick Douwes and Mohamad Meqdad, RCH will be presented as a contemporary construct of its socio-political and religious context through its connections to ethnicity, gender, nationalism, as much as religion. As such, it tries to contextualize RCH as the living cultural heritage of its community of users. Registration is now open.


Learning Objectives

  • To identify religious cultural heritage as one constituent of the community’s broader cultural heritage;
  • To address the challenges that religious cultural heritage faces in its cultural, religious and socio-political context;
  • To examine the process of constructing relationship between people and their religious cultural heritage and its changes over time;
  • To appreciate religious cultural heritage through the community’s values and their various processes of meaning making rather than the intrinsic values of the religious cultural heritage site itself



Professor Dick Douwes holds the chair of Global History at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.  He has published on late Ottoman history in Syria and on religious plurality in the Middle East, as well as on Muslims in Western Europe. Currently, he researches changes in shrine culture and politics in Syria and Lebanon, including the destruction of shrines.

Mohamad Meqdad is a PhD student at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, Erasmus University Rotterdam. His main research focuses on religious cultural heritage at times of crisis. 

*The course will be delivered via Zoom. Readings and further details will be provided later upon registration.