Feb 28, 2020  
2019-20 College of Liberal Arts 
    
2019-20 College of Liberal Arts
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RFLA 300 05 - Material Culture: Egypt/Jordan (CRN 10743)


While the Middle East is home to some of world’s oldest and most spectacular ancient civilizations, the region has long struggled to keep hold of its historical artifacts. Centuries of intermittent social, political, and economic instability helped give rise to and fuel the practices of confiscation, looting, and illegal selling and exportation of cultural property overseas. As we will see firsthand, it’s not just big-time art thieves who are stealing history; tourists can and do buy objects plundered from Egyptian tombs in local markets and on the street. This Spring 2020 rFLA 300 course and linked field study to Egypt and Jordan builds on this year’s rFLA Common Read Curriculum on travel by asking: Who owns the past and why should we care? What drives our impulse to handle and bring home archeological souvenirs? Who is the ‘best’ steward of the material past? Is it possible for western museums to acquire and display artifacts without fueling the illegal arts trade and perpetuating colonialist narratives?



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