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Preservation Studies Program student Reyhane Mirabootalebi sits with a weaver she interviewed as part of her doctoral research on traditional Kurdish textiles.
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Preservation is the study of the historical context and meaning of
international cultural monuments and material heritage combined with the
methods, policies, and philosophies necessary to insure their long-term
survival and access. The study mandates an interdisciplinary approach
within the humanities and the sciences. Informed preservation efforts,
for Angkor Wat, for example, should embrace stone deterioration and the
cultural history of the monument in addition to history of the region,
including politics and religion. Partnerships with global cultural
heritage organizations are anticipated for international topics.
There is a keen international need for better understanding of mechanisms of deterioration from the small (e.g. ivory miniatures) to the large (e.g. outdoor bronze sculpture or even entire historic sites) and the appropriate approaches to preservation. Such approaches may range from conservation treatment procedures to larger issues of legislation and public policy.
Preservation Studies Program (PSP) is an interdisciplinary doctoral
course of study that will teach the philosophies, research
methodologies, and policies informing preservation efforts focused on
art, architecture, landscapes, and material culture. It is distinct from
other discipline-based courses of graduate study in that it provides a
mechanism to combine cross-field expertise toward doctoral study in
preservation. The PSP prepares students to address questions regarding
individual objects and works of art, collections, buildings and
structures, and sites and landscapes. More specifically, it will train
its Ph.D. candidates to
Assess the significance and
cultural contexts for the production, function, reception, and
preservation of all aspects of visual and material culture
Identify, evaluate, and implement preservation practice and policy
Integrate ideas and methods from the full range of preservation-related disciplines
Preservation Studies doctoral program builds on unique and
distinguished programs at the University of Delaware and is
administered within the Art Conservation Department. The PSP may involve
collaboration with faculty and physical resources in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Earth, Ocean and Environment, Engineering, Education and Human Development, the School of Public Policy and Administration, the Center for Historic Architecture and Design, and the Winterthur Museum.
Applicants apply to a specific area of concentration within preservation studies, and acceptance will be contingent upon compatibility with existing University of Delaware resources. The PSP director will designate a potential dissertation supervisor who will work with the applicant to design a planned program of study. The Coremans Endowment is already in place for fellowship funding for doctoral students in preservation studies within the College of Arts and Sciences.