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UCLA: Beyond the Bamiyan Buddhas: Archaeology and History in the Modern and Ancient Persianate World

Day 1 of a two-day program at UCLA and UC Irvine, showcasing the cutting-edge of international research on Afghanistan's archaeology and history

Thursday, November 8, 2012
1:00 PM - 5:45 PM
UCLA History Conference Room
6275 Bunche Hall

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The destruction of the giant Buddha statues at Bamiyan in March 2001 briefly brought the world’s attention to the rich pre-Islamic heritage of Afghanistan. Appalling as it was, the tragedy at Bamiyan has overshadowed the larger stories that surround the Buddhas, both in terms of the longer history of archaeological excavation in Afghanistan and the plurality of ancient cultures that flourished in the region. Bringing together archaeologists and historians, these two half-day conferences at UCLA and UC Irvine explore two related issues. First, what archaeological, art historical and philological research can tell us about the evolution and interaction of societies and religious groups in the ancient and late antique Persianate world. And secondly, what roles have domestic and international politics had to play in the sponsorship or reception of historical and archaeological research on pre-Islamic Afghanistan. By addressing these questions, the conferences aim to understand the larger issues that surrounded both the creation and the destruction of the great Buddhas of Bamiyan.

Showcasing the cutting-edge of international research on Afghanistan’s archaeology and history, Beyond the Bamiyan Buddhas is jointly organized by Nile Green, chair of the UCLA Program on Central Asia, and Touraj Daryaee, Director of the UCI Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture, with support from the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, the UCLA Center for Buddhist Studies, the Center for Near Eastern Studies, the Center for the Study of Religion, and the Musa Sabi Term Chair in Iranian Studies (2004-2009).



1:00               Welcome and Introduction

Nile Green, UCLA


1:25-2:15     Keynote Lecture

Llewelyn Morgan, Brasenose College, Oxford

“Oxus: Bamiyan, Afghanistan & the World”


2:30-3:45     Panel I: The Politics of Afghan Archaeology

             Chair: Robert Brown, UCLA

Annick Fenet, Université Paris-10

“The Archaeology in the Reign of Amanullah, or the Difficult Birth of a National Heritage

Ali Mousavi, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

“Archaeology and political rivalries 1920-1940: From Afghanistan to Iran”


4:00-5:15     Panel II: Buddhist Pasts in Muslim Presents

Chair: Robert Buswell, UCLA

Alka Patel, Associate Professor, Department of Art History, UC Irvine

"Afghanistan’s Palimpsest Landscape: Buddhism and Islam in Material Culture"

Phillipe Marquis, Director, Délégation Archéologique Française en Afghanistan (DAFA),  Kabul

"Archaeology in Danger: How to Deal with Archaeology in the Post-Conflict Context of Today's Afghanistan?"


5:15-5:45     Discussant – Monica Smith, UCLA


Parking is available in Parking Structure 3 for $11 per day. Please visit www.transportation.ucla.edu for directions to UCLA and parking instructions.


Download file: EventSchedule-ma-zt2.pdf

Sponsor(s): Center for Buddhist Studies, Center for Near Eastern Studies, Asia Pacific Center, Program on Central Asia, Center for the Study of Religion, UCI Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture, American Institute for Afghanistan Studies, Musa Sabi Term Chair in Iranian Studies (2004-2009)