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What factors determine ethical ownership and display?
- Informed consent (removes moral obstacles)
- Implied consent (not so)
- No consent
- Moral (how items were procured; imperialism, looting, dubious deals)
- Legal (heritage rights, cultural paternity)
- Repatriation of objects to make up for past wrongs
- Display of body parts - time is important (are any of the descendants still alive?)
- Respectful display of body parts (i.e. Pharaoh's)
- Displaying objects in context
How does a cosmopolitan thinker think objects should be treated?
- Emphasises common humanity, removing cultural differences
- Global viewing is better for humanity
- Gives better cross-cultural understanding
- Removes context but protects objects
- Rational and practical approach
- Removing sentiment
- Shared humanity - all members of 1 global community
- Don't send items back, stock the museums with world art
Who is Kwame Appiah?
- Prominent cosmopolitan thinker
- British-born Ghanaian-American
- Professor of Philosophy at Princeton
What is Appiah's concept of cosmopolitanism?
- He defines cosmopolitanism as “universality plus difference”
- Different cultures are respected “not because cultures matter in themselves, but because people matter, and culture matters to people"
- I am a citizen of the world —Diogenes (404-423 BC)
- We have obligations to others that are bigger than just sharing citizenship
What is cultural paternity?
- Nations have rights of ownership
- Patrimony overrides every other consideration regarding ownership
Jeremy Bentham, d.1832
- Utilitarian Philosopher
- Gave explicit instructions/CONSENT
- Body publicly dissected
- Turned into an auto-icon
- Displayed at University College, London
Egyptian Mummies - what does their display give us?
- NO CONSENT present
- Archaeological - insight to past cultures
- Anthropological - understand past of humanity
- Scientific - understand health/diet
- Educational - display and study for all
Torres Straits Islanders
In March 2011 the British Nat Hist Museum agreed to return the bones of 138 indigenous people
18 months negotiation by descendants
They received cultural recognition of their identity
EXAMPLE 3, continued...
Why were the bones returned?
- They had a continued responsibility to case for the deceased
- Spiritual and cultural connection to the remains
- Symbolic value - reparation
- Souls of dead cannot rest until remains are in an appropriate place
- NO CONSENT
- Indigenous American of the Yahi tribe
- Living specimen at the Museum of Anthropology in SFO
- His people were cruelly hunted - genocide
- Autopsy - his brain was removed 'for science'
- Early anthropology - morally questionable
- Brain returned in 2000
What would you like to do?
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