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Hot Topic:
Art Under Attack...
The Islamic State's destruction
of ancient sites and antiquities

 

Providence College’s faculty and staff members are ready to provide their expert opinion on all of today’s hot topics and trends. They are available to respond to all media inquiries regarding their studied areas of expertise.      



Dr. Joan Branham, Professor of Art History and Associate Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences at Providence College. (Production courtesy of Dr. Joan Branham)

It has been stated that the Islamic State (ISIS) operates in what is arguably the richest archaeological arena in the world, an area that scholars often refer to as the cradle of civilization. In recent months, ancient sites at Nimrud, Nineveh and Hatra have been destroyed by ISIS and/or by those sympathetic to their cause.

In a recent article in The New York Times, ISIS claims the historical objects and sites it destroyed were heresy to its ideology, which is rooted in Wahhabism. In Palmyra, for example, the group blew up two historic tombs, one of a Shiite saint and another of a Sufi scholar, because it considers them to be forms of idolatry.

Dr. Joan Branham, Professor of Art History and Associate Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences at Providence College, says these artifacts represent the cultural history not only of Syria and Iraq, but of the world. She also says ISIS's videos depicting this destruction serve a clear purpose – as propaganda tools in sync with the group’s monotheistic ideology.

To speak with Dr. Branham directly, please contact Chrissy Centazzo at (401) 340-5710, or ccentazz@providence.edu

Meet Our Expert:

Dr. Joan Branham,
Professor of Art History and Associate Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences;
Teaching at PC since 1995

Expertise: 
  • Art History and Religion
  • Sacred Space in Art and Architecture
  • Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity
  • Jewish Art and Architecture
  • Early Christian Art and Architecture
  • The Jerusalem Temple
  • Sacrifice and Blood
  • Women and Religion
  • Theme Parks and Religion
Selected Courses Taught:  
  • Sacred Space in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
  • The Art of Sacrifice: Judaism and Christianity
 
 

Steve Maurano
Associate Vice President for Public Affairs, Community & Government Relations​
smaurano@providence.edu
(401) 865-2413​

Chrissy Centazzo
Public Affairs, Community & Government
Re​lations
Director of Media Relations
ccentazz@providence.edu
(401) 865-2413

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