For several years now, the organised clandestine excavation and export of antiquities out of war torn Syria and Iraq to Europe and beyond has thrust the Western demand for such artefacts and the resulting spoliation of Middle East into the centre of an international controversy. As the community of scholars addresses the legal, social, and ethical aspects of this situation, it is worth remembering that art and cultural heritage spoliation is seemingly an unstoppable process, which has a long history and occurs also in peacetime and within contexts permitted by law.
The aim of the session is to give attention to the historical situations when a large demand and competition for artworks or artefacts stemming from a certain geographical or cultural territory has led to effective acquisition campaigns that spoliated entire regions and countries of parts of their cultural heritage, as for instance Greece during the era of Grand Tour or the Ottoman Empire and the Netherlands in the late nineteenth century. What were the responses of the affected communities? What role did the differentiation between the local and the national patrimony play in the institutionalised response, especially in the late nineteenth century, driven by the idea of a nation? How did the loss of cultural heritage to (foreign) actors such as collectors and collecting institutions resonate within various social groups of the deprived communities? When does the economic benefit for a source area turn into damage of its cultural ecosystem?
Chair: Joanna Smalcerz, University of Bern Please send a proposal and a CV to Joanna Smalcerz (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 16 September 2020.
For more information about the conference and CFP deadlines, see: https://caa.confex.com/caa/2021/webprogrampreliminary/meeting.html.
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