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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Elizabeth Chilton

Second Advisor

Krista Harper

Third Advisor

Michael Sugerman

Fourth Advisor

Toby Applegate

Subject Categories

Archaeological Anthropology | Human Geography | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Urban Studies and Planning


The “old city,” a widely recognizable category of urban space, has long been a locus of development projects, state monitoring, and mass tourism, while also being home to resident communities. This dissertation explores the intersections of community life and state-driven heritage projects in the Old Town of Rhodes, in the Greek Dodecanese, and the Old City of Acre (‘Akka), a Palestinian community in northern Israel/Palestine. Both old cities are UNESCO World Heritage sites and subjects of intense state-supported tourism development. However, their resident populations and their built environments, which coalesced mainly under Crusader and Ottoman rule, challenge the authorized heritage discourse of both Greek and Israeli states in that they reflect a specifically other-than-national heritage.

I examine how residents develop life projects—work aimed at making a good life for self and community—in the wake of state heritage projects—work aimed at crafting citizens and places as subjects—in these two old cities. I adopt the lens of archaeological ethnography to account for the lived experiences of my interlocutors in relation to the old cities and their ongoing material formation. Residents of both places similarly experience state heritage as a process of alienation, but different histories of state intervention, tourism, and residents’ own memories of displacement and dispossession have led them to work against and beyond state heritage in distinct ways. Through interviews, participant observation, and photographic surface survey, I examine how residents are engaging with tourism and preservation while reclaiming the terms of heritage from the state. I argue that residents’ practices in both old cities embody relations to past and to place that evade conventional heritage frameworks and contribute to an alternative and decolonized theorization of the heritage concept that accommodates concerns of livability, local sovereignty, and redress.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License