Loot: Who Owns the Past?

Terracotta statuette of a goat, ca. 525–500 BCE, Greek

Jennifer Knust, Paul Jaskot, Kathryn Morgan, Ben Moon-Black


Type: Lab

Assist Prof. Jennifer Knust, Co-Director of the FHI’s Manuscript Migration Lab, along with her co-instructors Prof. Paul Jaskot (Art, Art History & Visual Studies) and Prof. Kathryn Morgan (Classical Studies), worked with Classical Studies PhD Student Ben Moon-Black in the development of their new Transformative Ideas undergraduate course, tentatively entitled “Loot: Who Owns the Past?”

Course Description

What does looting reveal about the nature of human creativity, ideals, and values? Who owns the past? Or, better, who decides who owns the past? Finally, how does ownership of the past shape the present–and the future? This course is a study of cultural heritage theft from antiquity until today with attention to the materiality, temporality, geography, ethics, aesthetics, economics, and politics of plunder and its display.

This course will be offered for the first time in Fall 2024, cross-listed for the programs in Religious Studies, Art History, Classical Studies, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies.