Social Science Baha

Lecture Series

Bringing Back the Gods: Activism and Repatriation of Cultural Objects in Asia

Emiline Smith
Lecture Series CV
August 25, 2022

Emiline Smith
Bringing Back the Gods: Activism and Repatriation of Cultural Objects in Asia

All countries in Asia have been under continuous threat from looting, theft and trafficking of their cultural heritage. As a result, many cultural objects remain in private and public collections abroad. Now, activists are collectively demanding their return, with fantastic results in Cambodia, India and Nepal for example. However, restorative justice demands more than the repatriation of these cultural objects alone. Making use of recent examples from across Asia, this lecture will explore the motivations of those repatriating, the tools available for repatriation, and consequences of the recent wave of repatriations to Asia. It will also reflect on the positionality and ethics of those researching cultural objects and their protection and repatriation.

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Emiline Smith is a Lecturer in Art Crime and Criminology at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. She is Fellow at the Centre for Criminology at the University of Hong Kong, and an advisor for the Nepal Heritage Recovery Campaign. She is also a member of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, the Trafficking Culture Research Consortium, and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

Dr Smith’s work focuses on the trafficking of cultural and natural resources, primarily to, from and through Asia.

This lecture was not recorded at the request of the speaker.

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