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What is Cultural Heritage and Whose Heritage Is It? Ours? Theirs? Everyone's?

September 27, 2017
05:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Hawkins-Carlson Room, Rush Rhees Library

Richard M. Leventhal
University of Pennsylvania
Penn Cultural Heritage Center

The 2017 James Conlon Memorial Lecture

Throughout the Internet and on the front pages of newspapers across the globe, statues—both ancient and more recent—are being pulled down, monuments are being destroyed, and people are debating the ownership and control of objects and important places. A number of years ago, the museum in Mosul, Iraq was sacked and artifacts pulverized in full color and slow-motion with accompanying music and a religious diatribe from ISIS. Several years earlier, the Taliban destroyed the Bamayan Buddhas in Afghanistan with an accompanying outcry from around the world. Today, statues to heroes of the Confederacy are being pulled down and fought over throughout the US with a debate that extends from the White House to Charlottesville. This is a debate about museums, statues, and cultural heritage but it is really a fight about who we are and who controls the stories that frame the identity of people and groups throughout the world. In the 21st century with instant global news and communication, can we reframe this debate about identity and power in order to preserve cultural heritage as well as to maintain the complex individual and group identities that structure the modern world?

This event is sponsored by The James Conlon Fund and the Department of Religion & Classics, University of Rochester.  Refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public.

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