Accepted paper:

Engaging with a 'global' morality: the moralised language of protection in the issues surrounding the illicit transactions of antiquities

Author:

Eisuke Tanaka (Fukuoka Jo Gakuin University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores how the idea of protecting ‘heritage’ operates by focusing on international disputes over the illicit antiquities trade. It argues that viewed the moralised idea of protection works both to connect and differentiate various claims over the control of ‘heritage’ across local, national and international levels.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will explore how the idea of protecting 'heritage' operates by focusing on international disputes over the illicit antiquities trade. It will specifically compare various claims against the illicit illegal exports of Turkish national 'heritage' by Turkish collectors and archaeologists with claims against the destruction of 'heritage of humanity' through which are made by Euro-American antiquities dealers, collectors, and archaeologists.

Discussions concerning control over things marked as 'heritage' suggest that cultural manifestations are considered to belong to two collective or communal entities i.e. 'heritage' of a particular community (i.e. a nation or an ethnic group) and 'common heritage' or 'heritage of humanity.' However, it is important to note that these two points of view do not simply oppose with each other. Seen as a good practice, the protection is assumed in both approaches.

Analysing various claims against the international illicit antiquities trade, this paper will examine the ways in which the moralised language of protection is used by those who show their interests in the control over cultural objects marking them as 'heritage'. It will demonstrate that these groups articulate their commitment to the protection of 'heritage' by portraying it as a good. The paper will also reveal that their claims are differentiated through the idea of protection. Through this, it will argue that viewed as a moral position, the idea of protection works both to connect and differentiate specific claims to cultural property across local, national and international levels.

panel P42
Cosmopolitanism and the appropriation of culture