Conflict as heritage: remembering and forgetting war

On 10th May 2022, Dr Mary Shepperson participated in the NTU Symposium Capturing Memories, Rebuilding Identities: Everyday Culture and Heritage of Post-War Iraq with a presentation that, using examples from Iraq’s previous conflicts and international comparisons, considered the case for a heritage approach to Mosul’s conflict remains. In the aftermath of conflict, especially one as brutal as that which Mosul experienced, the impulse is naturally to restore and rebuild; to erase the signs of warfare as quickly as possible. However, in doing so without recording or reflection, are the material witnesses to pivotal historical events being erased? Material which may prove important for how the community understands and comes to terms with past conflict in the future? The growing field of modern conflict heritage/archaeology treats features and structures created as a result of conflict as a material record of historical events and potentially as future heritage, which should be recorded, studied and, in a few specific circumstances, preserved for the future.

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