Lectures-Saul O Sidore Memorial Lecture Series-Who owns the Past?

Ethel Wolper's picture
September 26, 2017 to April 17, 2018
New Hampshire, United States
Subject Fields: 
Ancient History, Anthropology, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Islamic History / Studies

University of New Hampshire 2017-2018

Saul O. Sidore Memorial Lecture Series: "Who Owns the Past?"


Keynote Lecture: "Who Owns Palmyra?"

by Professor Erin Thompson, Assistant Professor of Art Crime, John Jay College


Tuesday, September, 26th, 7 pm


MUB Theater II

University of New Hampshire

Durham, NH


America’s only full-time professor of art crime, Erin Thompson, Assistant Professor of Art Crime from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, studies the damage done to humanity’s shared heritage through looting, theft, and the deliberate destruction of art. She has discussed art crime topics in, e.g., The New York Times, CNN, NPR, and the Freakonomics podcast. Her book Possession (Yale, 2016) explores the history of the private collecting of Greek and Roman antiquities; NPR says that it “realigns our own sensibilities about art.” Currently, Professor Thompson is researching the ways in which terrorist groups both sell and destroy art to support their genocidal campaigns, as well as the legalities and ethics of digital reproductions of cultural heritage.



This year's topic for the Sidore Lecture Series is "Who Owns the Past?"

While human lives are at risk every day, so too is the cultural heritage created by past cultures and societies, ones that are important not only for scholarly interest but also for the identity of present cultures. Some questions speakers will address over the year are 'Why do we—and should we—care about ancient monuments and culture when confronted with similarly urgent problems with what might be called ‘real-life’ consequences? And if we decide that the past is worth preserving, who has the right and responsibility to take on these challenges, and how can such preservation be effectively accomplished? The series will focus on cultural preservation and its challenges in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.



Future Lectures:

Jesse Casana, "Satellite Monitoring of Archaeological Damage and Looting in the Syrian Civil War" -- Wednesday, October 18


Omur Harmansah, "Disposable Landscapes, Disposable Heritage: Politics of the Ancient Past in the Anthropocene" -- Monday, November 20th


James Cuno, The J.P. Getty Trust, "Cultural Heritage in Conflict Zones: Protecting the Past for the Future" -- Wednesday, February 14


Zoe Kontes, "Lost vs. Found: Loot in US Museums" -- Monday, March 26


Susan Ackerman, "Assault Upon the Past: Recent Destruction of Cultural Heritage Sites in Syria, Iraq and Libya" and Laetitia La Follette, "Who Owns the Past is the Wrong Question" -- Tuesday, April 17th


Contact Info: 

Ethel Sara Wolper

University of New Hampshire

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