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Thompson, Janna, , . Cultural Property, Restitution and Value
2003, Journal of Applied Philosphy 20(3): 251-262
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Added by: Erich Hatala Matthes, Contributed by:

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.

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Warren, Karen J., , . A Philosophical Perspective on the Ethics and Resolution of Cultural Property Issues
1989, In The Ethics of Collecting Cultural Property, edited by Phyllis Mauch Messenger. USA: University of New Mexico Press.
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Summary: Warren’s chapter offers a careful and systematic look at arguments concerning what she calls “the 3 R’s”: restitution (or repatriation) of cultural property, restrictions on cultural imports and exports, and the rights (to ownership, access, etc.) over cultural property. She ultimately argues that this framework should be overturned in favor of an approach to cultural property disputes that is modeled on conflict resolution. This approach deprioritizes traditional talk of property and ownership in favor of a focus on preservation.

Comment: Due to its clear and organized approach, this article is an excellent teaching resource, and a good choice in particular if you plan to do a single reading on repatriation issues. While it often focuses more on summary than developing the many argumentative approaches mentioned, it offers a helpful backbone for further discussion.

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