Full text See used
Coleman, Elizabeth Burns. Aboriginal Painting: Identity and Authenticity
2001, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 59(4): 385–402.
Expand entry
Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes

Summary: Coleman argues for an ontological understanding of Australian Aboriginal artworks (namely, that they function as insignia that require authoritative endorsement) that can resolve disputes about the authenticity of controversial cases of Aboriginal art. More broadly, her article illuminates the ways in which viewing art as part of a cultural heritage can affect how we understand its authenticity.

Comment: This is a longer text that intersects with a number of other topics, including appropriation, art ontology, and the art-status of non-Western artworks. It could be used in the context of course units exploring any of those themes, or to raise them in the context of a unit on authenticity.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text See used
Eaton, A. W., I. Gaskell. Do Subaltern Artifacts Belong in Art Museums?
2009, In James O. Young & Conrad Brunk (eds.), The Ethics of Cultural Appropriation. Wiley
Expand entry
Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes

Summary: Eaton and Gaskell argue that museums are “instruments of power,” and then ask whether it is permissible for them to display the cultural heritage of peoples who have been subordinated. Ultimately, they argue that despite a series of arguments to the contrary, the display of “subaltern” artifacts is not just permissible, “but advantageous to all interested parties.” They make the argument by posing and responding to four central objections to this position.

Comment: This is a careful and comprehensive look at ethical questions surrounding the display of "subaltern" cultural heritage in museums. If you plan to assign a single reading on this topic, use this one.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text See used
Karlström, Anna. Authenticity
2015, In Heritage Keywords, edited by Kathryn Lafrenz Samuels and Trinidad Rico. USA: University Press of Colorado.
Expand entry
Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes

Summary: This text offers a brief overview of some approaches to the concept of authenticity in international heritage management. Focusing on a case study of Buddhist sites in Laos, Karlström then argues that culturally specific understandings of authenticity pose problems for the universal application of a preservationist approach to heritage management. It concludes with some open-ended questions about how we should pursue alternative approaches.

Comment: This is a good text for instructors who want to discuses authenticity in the context of a reasonably in-depth look at a particular non-Western cultural context. While the article itself is light on conceptual/ philosophical work, if offers useful material for philosophical analysis and discussion. It would pair well with the theoretical framework provided in Yuriko Saito's "Why Restore Works of Art?", or the alternative approach to authenticity captured in Carolyn Korsmeyer's "Real Old Things."

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Nicholas, George P., Alison Wylie. ‘Do Not Do Unto Others…’ Cultural Misrecognition and the Harms of Appropriation in an Open-Source World
2012, In Geoffrey Scarre & Robin Coningham (eds.), Appropriating the Past: Philosophical Perspectives on the Practice of Archaeology. Cambridge University Press. pp. 195-221.
Expand entry
Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes

Abstract: In this chapter we explore two important questions that we believe should be central to any discussion of the ethics and politics of cultural heritage: What are the harms associated with appropriation and commodification, specifically where the heritage of Indigenous peoples is concerned? And how can these harms best be avoided? Archaeological concerns animate this discussion; we are ultimately concerned with fostering postcolonial archaeological practices. But we situate these questions in a broader context, addressing them as they arise in connection with the appropriation of Indigenous cultural heritage, both past and present.

Comment: The text offers a wide-ranging discussion of cultural appropriation, and an interresting focus on commodification, display, and community engagement. A collaboration between a philosopher (Wylie) and an archaeologist (Nicholas), it's a great fit for instructors who are looking for a case-driven text that includes theoretical context. It includes four specific case studies that range over multiple cultural contexts.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text See used
Thompson, Janna. Cultural Property, Restitution and Value
2003, Journal of Applied Philosphy 20(3): 251-262
Expand entry
Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes

Summary: In this paper, Thompson approaches questions about the repatriation of art and artifacts through the lens of cultural property. She briefly discusses the nature of cultural property itself, and then moves on to exploring how her preferred conception of cultural property (roughly, culturally significant objects that are legitimately acquired by a collectivity) can facilitate or hinder claims for repatriation. In particular, she discusses the relationship between cultural property-based claims and potentially countervailing considerations, such as the purported universal value (or “value for humanity”) of cultural heritage.

Comment: This text offers a helpful introduction to cultural property and repatriation that is clear, readable, and concise. It is a good choice if you only have time for a single reading on this topic, but it also pairs well with most other readings in this module.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Can’t find it?
Contribute the texts you think should be here and we’ll add them soon!