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Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, from Genocide to Justice

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

White Hall, 110
123 Central Ave., Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Art history, histories of genocide, cultural heritage, and questions of the continuity of the medieval and the modern intersect in the biography of a medieval Armenian Gospels manuscript. Eight of its illuminated pages were discovered in the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2010, prompting a lawsuit. The tale of the separation of the pages from the manuscript tells a story of genocide and survival, and makes the case for a human right to art.

Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh is Professor of Art History at the University of California, Davis. She researches the visual cultures of the Middle East, including issues of architectural preservation, museums, and cultural heritage. Her first book, The Image of an Ottoman City: Imperial Architecture and Urban Experience in Aleppo in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, received the Spiro Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians in 2006. Her scholarly publications have also won the Best Article Prize from the Syrian Studies Association, and the Ömer Lütfi Barkan Article Prize from the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association. She was the guest editor for a special issue of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture, on “Cultural Heritage and the Arab Spring” (2016). Her new book, The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, from Genocide to Justice, was published by Stanford University Press in 2019. In addition to her scholarship, her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, and was featured in a BBC series about cultural heritage lost during the current conflict in Syria.

Sponsored by the Departments of Near Eastern Studies, and The History of Art & Visual Studies, Religious Studies Program, and the Cornell Institute of Archaeology & Material Studies (CIAMS).

Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.

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Event Type



Near Eastern Studies, History of Art and Visual Studies, Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies (CIAMS)

Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Ayla Cline


Heghnar Watenpaugh

Speaker Affiliation

UC Davis

Dept. Web Site

Disability Access Information

If you need accommodations to participate in this event, please contact Ayla Cline as soon as possible.

Open To

Free and open to the public

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