Paul Christians

heritage, experts/expertise, community archaeology, Qatar, Gulf and Arabian Peninsula

I’m interested in systems of heritage expertise in the Arabian Gulf and their political economy. Gulf states such as Qatar declare conserving culture key to national survival, investing heavily in a variety of heritage projects over the last two decades. Yet most of the experts working in Qatar’s cultural industry—heritage, museums, archaeology, arts—are foreigners. How and why is this transnational system useful? This anthropological and historical analysis of Khaleeji heritage helps explore broader questions of why and how we come to trust experts—or not—in our interconnected world. My research is informed by fifteen years of work in cultural heritage, archaeology, and museums in the US, Middle East, and Arabian Peninsula. I hold an MA from the University of Chicago (Anthropology, 2006) as well as a BA and BS from Calvin College (History and Archaeology, Biochemistry, 2003).