Jun 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

POL 281 - Who Owns the Past?

Zimmerman, Krentz

Who controls the past? Who decides what cultural property and cultural heritage merits preservation? What role do local communities, state and national government, and international institutions play? What are the major threats to the preservation of cultural heritage? War destroys cultural property most dramatically, but looting, economic development, tourism and climate change also pose threats. Some people would also count archaeology, which seeks to understand the human past through its material remains, as another threat. Who decides where and what to dig? Who owns the excavation finds? 

In this course, students will participate in class discussions, often in small break-out groups, sometimes on the basis of readings and sometimes on the basis of student reports, presented in the form of Zoom videos on such topics as (for example) what cultural heritage is at risk, what effect nationalism has on archaeology, what the acquisitions policy of a museum is, and how a site should be conserved and presented to the public. For each of these assignments, students will choose which particular country or museum they wish to report on. The class as a whole aims at a global perspective.

Satisfies the Philosophical and Religious Perspectives requirement.
Counts as an elective toward the majors in Political Science, Classical Studies, and Classical Languages and Literature, as well as the minor in Classical Studies.

Prerequisites & Notes
Students at all levels welcome. (Spring 2021)