"Who Owns Palmyra?" (keynote lecture for Sidore Lecture Series)
Saul O Sidore Memorial Lecture Series Keynote: Who Owns Palmyra?
Dr. Erin Thompson
Assistant Professor of Art Crime
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
America’s only full-time professor of art crime, Professor Thompson studies the damage done to humanity’s shared heritage through looting, theft, and the deliberate destruction of art. She has discussed art crime topics in, e.g., The New York Times, CNN, NPR, and the Freakonomics podcast. Her book Possession (Yale, 2016) explores the history of the private collecting of Greek and Roman antiquities; NPR says that it “realigns our own sensibilities about art.” Currently, Professor Thompson is researching the ways in which terrorist groups both sell and destroy art to support their genocidal campaigns, as well as the legalities and ethics of digital reproductions of cultural heritage.
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.