As summer approaches and we begin to turn our proposed projects into reality, I personally am beginning to question what problems I might expect in working with the local publics with such a politically sensitive topic. What biases will I encounter, and how can I prepare to address them myself? How will my own position as a university-sponsored individual impact how I am received? My project is geared towards preserving ancient Syrian heritage, and with that comes entangled, messy, colonial baggage, which on the one hand I must contend with as a scholar, and on the other hand must figure out how to explain to the public. The current political situation moreover has created tensions in my area that partially focus on issues pertaining to my project. How will these tensions affect my project, the reception of it, and the direction it takes?

What I am bringing with me is support from my university from multiple departments, as well as the background knowledge relating to the history of the region. I also, however, am bringing my own biases, centered on a value of education, and sharing and preserving of knowledge, combined with a Western worldview. I must keep in mind that the cultural heritage I am working towards helping preserve is not my own.