Sidore Panel: "Protecting the Past"
Susan Ackerman is the Preston H. Kelsey Professor of Religion at Dartmouth College. Her areas of expertise include the religions of the ancient Near East (ancient Mesopotamia, Canaan, Egypt, and Israel). Since January 2014, she has also served as the President of the American Schools of Oriental Research, whose Cultural Heritage Initiative division works to document and raise awareness about the destruction and degradation of cultural heritage in Syria, Libya, and northern Iraq and to implement small-scale mitigation and restoration projects.
Associate professor and chair of the department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Laetitia La Follette served until 2017 as Vice President for Cultural Heritage for the Archaeological Institute of America, advising on policy for the protection of heritage world-wide. Her publications on cultural heritage include editing and contributing to the volume Negotiating Culture: Heritage, Ownership and Intellectual Property (2013), as well as recent articles on looted antiquities, art museums and restitution in the US and on the impact of the 1970 UNESCO convention on unprovenanced Etruscan artifacts in NY museums.
This year's topic for the Sidore Lecture Series is "Who Owns the Past?" While human lives are at risk every day, so too is the cultural heritage created by past cultures and societies, ones that are important not only for scholarly interest but also for the identity of present cultures. Some questions speakers will address over the year are 'Why do we—and should we—care about ancient monuments and culture when confronted with similarly urgent problems with what might be called ‘real-life’ consequences? And if we decide that the past is worth preserving, who has the right and responsibility to take on these challenges, and how can such preservation be effectively accomplished? The series will focus on cultural preservation and its challenges in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
The Saul O Sidore Memorial Lecture Series was established in 1965 in memory of Saul O Sidore of Manchester, New Hampshire. The purpose of the series is to offer the University community and the state of New Hampshire programs that raise critical and sometimes controversial issues facing our society. The University of New Hampshire Center for the Humanities sponsors the programs.