Radical Hope and Cultural Heritage: Stories from the Arab Region - Change Over Time: An International Journal of Conservation and the Built Environment

Kecia Fong's picture
Call for Papers
October 7, 2022 to December 15, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Arabic History / Studies, Architecture and Architectural History, Cultural History / Studies, Historic Preservation, Middle East History / Studies

Guest Editor: Ammar Azzouz

Cultural heritage sites in several countries in the Arab Region have been weaponised to erase peoples’ histories and to re/construct narratives. During periods of colonization, which includes the colonization of knowledge practices and peoples’ rights to tell their own stories, cultural heritage sites have been deliberately targeted as stages upon which power is performed and messages of dominance are communicated to a global audience. From the bombing of Palmyra by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to the destruction of Palestinian heritage by Israel, each act of erasure is an attempt to re-write history whilst burying certain histories through selective demolition and reconstruction. Whilst heritage is often threatened by destruction at times of war, it has also been endangered during times of ‘peace’. Lack of funds and politically or profit-driven urban regeneration and neoliberal projects have led to the intentional destruction and neglect of several cultural heritage sites such as the current threats to erase parts of Cairo’s City of the Dead in Egypt.

Radical Hope and Cultural Heritage aims to explore the challenges of protecting cultural heritage sites in the Arab Region. Rather than focusing exclusively on threats to cultural heritage, however, we encourage contributors to examine the acts of activism, resistance, and conservation that are enacted at these sites. Questions to consider are:

  • How can we move beyond the traumatic events surrounding cultural heritage sites in a way that captures positivity and commitment to protecting the past?
  • What is the role of local communities and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in protecting cultural heritage?
  • Can protecting the past be an act of radical hope?

We invite contributions from those working on the built environment including scholars, activists, archivists, historians, photographers, and other built heritage practitioners. We acknowledge that many people from the region feel that their story has been written by people from outside the region and that those narratives have often lacked substantive voices from the people who daily shape and live amongst this heritage. We are therefore especially keen to include voices from the region who are working on and researching cultural heritage either from inside their own countries or in diaspora (such as migrants and asylum seekers).

Abstracts of 200-300 words are due 15 December 2022. Notifications and invitations for manuscript development will be sent by the middle of January 2023. Final manuscript submissions will be due July 2023. 


Change Over Time  welcomes submissions from scholars, practitioners, and artists whose work brings a critical perspective to the selected issue theme. After approval of a short abstract, manuscript submissions can take a variety of forms including:

  • Provocations (1,000 – 1,500 words)
  • Short case studies (4,000 – 5,000 words)
  • Articles (5,000 – 7,500 words, maximum 10 images)
  • Photo essays (15 images and captions)
  • Interviews/Profiles (3,000 – 5,000 words)
  • Literature reviews (3,00 - 5000 words)
  • Translations into English of key theoretical proposals critical to conservation discourse

Articles are generally restricted to 7,500 or fewer words and may include up to ten images. See Author Guidelines for full details at cotjournal.com, or email Editor, Kecia Fong at cot@design.upenn.edu for further information.

Contact Info: 

Kecia Fong, Editor, cot@design.upenn.edu

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