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.
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
To speak with Dr. Branham directly, please contact Chrissy Centazzo at (401) 340-5710, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet Our Expert:
Dr. Joan Branham,
Professor of Art History and Associate Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences;
Teaching at PC since 1995
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