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Art Crime & Cultural Heritage Protection

Instructor: Prof. Crispin Corrado [see profile]
Disciplines: Archaeology, Art History, Legal Studies

With an emphasis on Italy, this course will focus on the looting, destruction and reselling of antiquities, from classical antiquity to today. Together we will consider issues such as what constitutes an art/cultural heritage crime, how ideas of value (both real and symbolic) have emerged historically and how have they changed over time, what constitutes "ownership" in the eyes of different entities, and how this has changed over the past 50 years, resulting in the current difficult and controversial issue of the repatriation of cultural artifacts which have crossed international borders. Themes considered will be the history of collecting, illegal excavation and the illicit trade in antiquities, the role of auction houses, the Church, museums and galleries, ownership and patrimony issues, international laws and agreements, recovery and repatriation, and ongoing problems with the protection and conservation of antiquities. We will end the course with a review of cultural heritage laws and the current international situation, as well as a discussion identifying challenges and providing suggestions for regulating the market of antiquities in the future.


  • a midterm
  • a case presentation
  • a research paper (8 pages)
  • a final exam