War and Culture: Cultural Icons, Cultural Identities, and Islamic State


This roundtable will focus on threats that the rise of the Islamic State poses to cultural icons and cultural identities, as well as on the ability or limitations of law and policy to mitigate those threats. The conversation will include threats to World Heritage sites and other universally recognized cultural sites in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State's reliance on income from looted archaeological sites to fund its activities, the attempts to merge Syrian and Iraqi cultural identities, the historical underpinnings of the Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate, and threats to cultural subgroups and representative iconography in Syria and Iraq. 


  • David Bowker, partner, WilmerHale; adjunct professor, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Jennifer Gordon, independent researcher
  • Aiyaz Husain, historian, policy studies division, Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State
  • Mark Vlasic, principal, Madison Law & Strategy Group; senior fellow, Georgetown Institute for Law, Science & Global Security; adjunct professor, Georgetown University Law Center
Moderator: Anne-Marie Carstens, visiting professor of law, Georgetown University Law Center

This roundtable is co-sponsored by the Cultural Heritage and Arts Interest Group of the American Society of International Law and the Association for the Study of of Law, Culture, and the Humanities (ASLCH), and is a panel at ASLCH's Annual Meeting. 

Date and Location

Friday, March 6, 2015 - 1:45pm to 3:30pm
Georgetown University Law Center
Address 1: 
600 New Jersey Avenue NW
Zip Code: