Yates visiting MSU for public lecture & workshop, 26–27 Oct

19 Oct 2016


The Anthropology Dept at Michigan State University will be hosting Donna Yates for a series of events focused on the looting and trafficking of cultural objects.

More info about these events: http://yates.anthropology.msu.edu/

Culture Crime: Investigating Global Antiquities Trafficking
Wednesday, Oct 26th – 7:00pm
International Center, room CIP115

Our past is beautiful and it is fragile. Tombs are robbed, temples are looted, and the past is destroyed, all to feed the international market for antiquities. Yet after decades of public concern, professional action, and policy response, we’re still struggling with this threat to our collective heritage. As new holes continue to appear at archaeological sites and as recently-smuggled antiquities continue to enter collections around the world, we need to reflect on what we’re doing wrong and develop effective ways to  investigate the looting, trafficking, and illicit sale of antiquities.

“In this talk, I will present two recent antiquities smuggling case studies (Cambodia and India) which display the global reach and structure of the illicit trade in looted artefacts. I will also show how approaches borrowed from criminology, sociology, and anthropology can be applied to these cases to develop effective new measures for protecting heritage. For the past 4 years, the Trafficking Culture research consortium has worked to tackle some of the open questions about antiquities crime in hopes of coming up with policies that truly protect the past. We believe that illicit antiquities research informed by criminology can produce actionable insight into these global criminal network.”

The public talk will be on Wednesday, Oct 26th at 7:00pm in the International Center, room CIP115. The talk will also be streamed here, and will be available to view here after the event has ended.

The Graduate Student Workshop
Thursday, October 27th – 12:00pm to 2:00pm – McDonel Hall, room C103

Are ‘collectors the real looters?’ Does demand cause illicit supply? What policies are in place to control the actual market for antiquities?

In this workshop we will discuss how and why things continue to fall apart. By discussing current heritage disasters in Syria and Iraq and comparing them to previous disasters in the same region, we will consider the question: are we making the same mistakes over and over again? Are researchers driving our global policy responses to the looting and trafficking of antiquities or is the media? As we will see, this lack of innovative policy has profound effects on the sources of looted antiquities but few effects on the market. We will conclude by thinking about what effective regulation of the market might look like.