UW News

May 29, 2003

Panel discussion focuses on looting in wartime

The newscasts are rife with stories of looting and destruction of cultural artifacts at the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad. Special Web sites have cropped up exhibiting pictures of the priceless missing pieces of Iraq’s cultural heritage. But what does this looting and destruction mean for thepeople of Iraq? What does similar activity exhibited throughout history during times of conflict mean in terms of cultural memory?

On June 4 at 6:30 pm, the Burke Museum presents “Looting: Price of War or Prize of Victory?” an interdisciplinary panel discussion examining the looting of cultural artifacts in Iraq and elsewhere in the world. Through perspectives both modern and historical panelists and special guests will discuss the importance of cultural artifacts in the construction of memory, the role of museums in such constructions, the lack of regard for cultural heritage in military planning, and the commodification of cultural artifacts through the international art market.

Panelists include: Richard Eaton, Prof. of History, University of Arizona; Peter Lape, Burke Curator of Archaeology; Jim Nason, Burke Curator of New World Ethnology; Mary Callahan, UW Assistant Professor of International Studies; Christoph Giebel, UW Assistant Professor of History; and Philipp Rassmann, UW graduate student in Anthropology.

Special guests include: Fawzi Khouri, former Head, Near East Section, UW Libraries; Gloria London, Ancient Near Eastern Studies; Judith Henchy, Head, South East Asia Section, UW Libraries; Mark Jenkins, Associate Professor, UW School of Drama, and Founder, Campus for Peace.

The event will be moderated by KUOW Radio’s Steve Scher, host of the morning public affairs program, Weekday. Audience participation in the discussion will be highly encouraged. “Looting: Price of War or Prize of Victory?” is co-sponsored by the Burke Museum, Jackson School of International Studies, Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities, UW Department of History, UW Libraries, Campus for Peace, and TVW.