Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Middle Eastern Studies


Alexander A. Bauer


Simon Davis

Subject Categories

History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Political Science | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Archaeology, Culture Heritage, Geopolitical agenda, Politics, Saudi Aramco, Soft Power


Culture Heritage in recent decades has become a catch word within world discourse. It is increasingly receiving generous attention in both money and time form private and public sectors on preservation policy. The application of so-called preservation and restoration projects, the alleged care for Cultural Heritage, has become a motive and battle cry of UNESCO, World Bank, private companies, banks, NGOs, European Council, and Western governments' foreign policy. This leads us to ask what is behind this increasing attention, and whether we should see it as Christina Luke 2013 suggested in her article--is Heritage increasingly being seen as a soft power for advancing certain geopolitical agendas in international policy arsenal? I will be looking at Saudi Aramco as a particular example to argue that that culture heritage is being used as such a political tool and that therefore we should be very skeptical of heritage development schemes, examine critically the use of heritage-related political scheme, and try to identify and understand what motivations or what other policies are behind them. Through the case study of Saudi Aramco I will examine the motivation and agenda being advanced in preservation and restoration of culture heritage in Saudi Arabia.