Lectures to Address Cultural Heritage Controversies

Two lectures on cultural heritage issues will be given in October as part of an international Cultural Heritage Conference held at Willamette University. Both lectures are free to the public.

Kwame Anthony Appiah will give a lecture titled, "Who Owns Culture?" Thursday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Hudson Hall in the Rogers Music Center at Willamette. Appiah is the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. His books include Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers.

"Thieves of Baghdad: The Investigation into the Looting of the Iraq National Museum" will be presented by Matthew Bogdanos Friday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Hudson Hall. Bogdanos served as deputy director of the Joint Interagency Coordination Group that led the investigation into the 2003 theft and looting of the Baghdad museum. Under his direction, a U.S. multi-agency task force was deployed to Afghanistan, the first time a U.S. team had gone into a war zone. Although 7,000 to 10,000 artifacts are missing, including major pieces considered irreplaceable, the team has recovered thousands of priceless antiquities. A slide lecture will outline the flourishing black market in stolen antiquities that is funding the insurgency in Iraq.

Cultural Heritage Issues: The Legacy of Conquest, Colonization and Commerce is open to the public and brings internationally recognized experts in archaeology, anthropology, museum studies and law for a critical dialogue about the legal and ethical dimensions of cultural heritage issues.

"The 2003 looting of the Iraqi National Museum generated international discussion about the policies of cultural heritage management," said Ortwin Knorr, coordinator for the Salem branch of the Archaeological Institute of America and classical studies professor at Willamette. "There has also been intense debate about the disposition of artifacts acquired by the Nazis during World War II, the repatriation of classical treasures like the Elgin Marbles, the final disposition of the 9,000-year-old Kennewick Man skeleton and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act," Knorr said.

Other conference speakers include James Pepper Henry, an associate program director with the National Museum of the American Indian and tribal member of the Kaw/Muscogee Nation; John Jelderks, the judge who wrote the decision in the Kennewick Man case; Richard Leventhal, director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; leading experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. State Department; as well as numerous scholars, legal experts and museum curators from Australia, Canada, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Nigeria and the United States.

Registration for the conference is free for members of the Archaeological Institute of America and Willamette students, faculty and staff. For all others, registration is $90 for the entire conference, including receptions and lunches. Registration per day is $20, or $35 with lunch. Interested community members are invited to attend. Registration is due Oct. 9. For information go to or contact Knorr at 503-370-6029.

This conference is made possible with the generous support of the Archaeological Institute of America; the Oregon Council for the Humanities; Willamette University's Lilly Project, College of Law and College of Liberal Arts; and a Willamette University Canadian Studies Program Enhancement Grant.