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Look Inside International Law, Museums and the Return of Cultural Objects

International Law, Museums and the Return of Cultural Objects


  • Date Published: August 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521732406

£ 37.99

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About the Authors
  • While the question of the return of cultural objects is by no means a new one, it has become the subject of increasingly intense debate in recent years. This important book explores the removal and the return of cultural objects from occupied communities during the last two centuries and analyses the concurrent evolution of international cultural heritage law. The book focuses on the significant influence exerted by British, U.S. and Australian governments and museums on international law and museum policy in response to restitution claims. It shows that these claims, far from heralding the long-feared dissolution of museums and their collections, provide museums with a vital, new role in the process of self-determination and cultural identity. Compelling and thought-provoking throughout, this book is essential reading for archaeologists, international lawyers and all those involved in cultural resource management.

    • Addresses one of the most controversial and challenging questions facing museums today: that of the restitution of cultural property
    • Provides in-depth analysis of international and national schemes for the return of objects and the codification of restitution in international law
    • Sets out the positive and dynamic new role for museums in the process of cultural identification
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Thoroughly referenced, with tables of cases and instruments and a chronological chart of treaties, containing a forest of footnotes and a veritable smorgasbord of acronyms, this book is nevertheless written with exemplary clarity, keeping the reader's attention.' Antiquity

    'International Law, Museums and the Return of Cultural Objects is impressive … a wealth of information and gives time-depth to an argument that some might think quite recent. … Indigenous peoples have in Ana Filipa Vrdoljak a strong advocate and her book deserves a wide Western readership.' Antiquity

    'The author provides an engaging, highly important and brilliantly written study on a problematic subject-matter that will keep challenging the leading museums of the world.' Kunstrechtsspiegel Magazin des Instituts für Kunst und Recht

    'Vrdoljak has effectively deployed the results of her extensive research and analysis to recontextualize the tangible legacy of indigenous peoples as something more profound than objects of curiosity, admiration and scientific commentary. … What broadens her project impressively for the general reader is her attention to the critical relationship between the restitution of cultural heritage and general topics of international law – in particular, state succession, state responsibility, human rights and humanitarian law. … Vrdoljak's empirically based insights in International Law, Museums and the Return of Cultural Objects make an invaluable contribution to the growing literature on the significant role of indigenous cultural heritage in colonial and post-colonial history.' American Journal of International Law

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521732406
    • length: 384 pages
    • dimensions: 247 x 173 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.78kg
    • contains: 32 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The state and national culture in the early nineteenth century
    2. International law, international exhibitions in the late nineteenth century
    3. Dismantling empires and post-World War I peace treaties
    4. Colonised peoples and the League of Nations
    5. Restitution in the mid-twentieth century
    6. Genocide, human rights and colonised peoples during the Cold War
    7. Decolonisation without restitution
    8. Indigenous peoples and restitution as a process
    9. Indigenous peoples, states and reconciliation

  • Author

    Ana Filipa Vrdoljak, University of Western Australia, Perth
    Ana Filipa Vrdoljak is Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence and a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Australia.

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