2. Fashionable Controversies: Cultural Heritage and the Other in Europe
Chloë N. Duckworth [+]
How do archaeologists deal with Islamicate cultural heritage in Europe, when the words ‘Islam’ and ‘Europe’ together hold such loaded connotations in contemporary discourse? The answer depends as always, on the context. In grant applications and book cover blurbs, it is de rigueur to stoke controversies, emphasising the current relevance, and risk, of our research. In the nitty gritty of academic writing, however, many shy away from these matters. Perhaps this helps to maintain historical objectivity through distance, or perhaps it simply serves to mask how embedded our research is in contemporary concerns. I argue that this pattern of ‘forgetting’ and ‘rediscovering’ Islamicate cultural heritage in Europe has a long, Orientalist pedigree; one that we must move away from, if we intend to develop a framework for interpreting Islamicate archaeology in its European and global medieval context.