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Negotiating Culture

Heritage, Ownership, and Intellectual Property

edited by Laetitia La Follette

Publication Year: 2013

Rival claims of ownership or control over various aspects of culture are a regular feature of our twenty-first-century world. Such debates are shaping disciplines as diverse as anthropology and archaeology, art history and museum studies, linguistics and genetics. This provocative collection of essays—a series of case studies in cultural ownership by scholars from a range of fields—explores issues of cultural heritage and intellectual property in a variety of contexts, from contests over tangible artifacts as well as more abstract forms of culture such as language and oral traditions to current studies of DNA and genes that combine nature and culture, and even new, nonproprietary models for the sharing of digital technologies. Each chapter sets the debate in its historical and disciplinary context and suggests how the approaches to these issues are changing or should change. One of the most innovative aspects of the volume is the way each author recognizes the social dimensions of group ownership and demonstrates the need for negotiation and new models. The collection as a whole thus challenges the reader to reevaluate traditional ways of thinking about cultural ownership and to examine the broader social contexts within which negotiation over the ownership of culture is taking place. In addition to Laetitia La Follette, contributors include David Bollier, Stephen Clingman, Susan DiGiacomo, Oriol Pi-Sunyer, Margaret Speas, Banu Subramaniam, Joe Watkins, and H. Martin Wobst.

Published by: University of Massachusetts Press


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pp. C-C

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Table of Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Introduction- Negotiating Ownership Claims: Changing Attitudes toward Cultural Property

Laetitia La Follette

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pp. 1-12

Rival claims in the realm of culture represent some of the most contentious issues in the world today, appearing in the news on a weekly if not daily basis. Some of the highest-profile cases have involved disputes over material objects—Native American remains, Greek and Roman antiquities, works of art looted by the Nazis—with important...

Part I: Contested Physical Culture

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1. The Politics of Archaeology: Heritage, Ownership, and Repatriation

Joe Watkins

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pp. 15-37

It is probably safe to say that everyone has an opinion on the repatriation legislation that came out of Congress in 1989 and 1990, the National Museum of the American Indian Act (NMAIA) and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which require U.S. government agencies and federally funded museums to return cultural items, including human remains, to Native American ...

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2. The Trial of Marion True and Changing Policies for Classical Antiquities in American Museums: Appendix: Art Repatriated to Italy and Greece through 2010

Laetitia La Follette

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pp. 38-71

The indictment of Marion True, curator of classical art at the J. Paul Getty Museum, by a Roman court in 2005 on charges of conspiring to traffic in illicit antiquities marked a dramatic shift in the history of ownership claims over contested works of ancient art. This chapter shows how the indictment changed the way premier museums...

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3. The Salamanca Papers: A Cultural Property Episode in Post-Franco Spain

Oriol Pi-Sunyer and Susan M. DiGiacomo

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pp. 72-98

The devastating civil war of 1936–1939 has long been seen, not the least by foreign historians, as the defining moment of modern Spanish history. In its time, the heroic struggle of the Republic aroused the admiration of anti-fascist Western intellectuals to an unprecedented degree and helped turn the conflict into an international cause. Regarding this generation, the Irish poet Louis MacNeice wrote, “our spirit...

Part II: Shared Stewardship

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4. Language Ownership and Language Ideologies

Margaret Speas

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pp. 101-121

In 2005, four representatives of the Mapuche people of Chile wrote to Microsoft chairman Bill Gates to express “profound concerns regarding the scope of the agreement between Microsoft and the government of Chile which aims at creating a Windows operating system in our ancestral language, the Mapudungun.” They asserted that “only the Mapuche...

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5. Archaeologists, Indigenous Intellectual Property, and Oral History

H. Martin Wobst

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pp. 122-144

This chapter focuses on interactions between professional archaeologists and members of Indigenous populations, in the traditional lands of Indigenous people. The world’s Indigenous people as defined here are not neatly or categorically different from other descendant groups, and they are not a racial category. Instead, they are culturally...

Part III: Negotiating the Boundary

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6. Re-owning the Past: DNA and the Politics of Belonging

Banu Subramaniam

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pp. 147-169

The essays in this volume highlight the complexities of ownership and belonging in a world where contested definitions of ownership and commodification loom large, and where multiple histories, colonization, shifting national boundaries, and inequities in wealth and power have created vastly unequal players. The many issues that the authors ...

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7. Digital Commons: The Rise of New Models of Collaborative Ownership

David Bollier

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pp. 170-187

Our understandings of ownership—the value associated with private-property rights—are changing profoundly in the emerging networked environment. Although markets remain a powerful force for creating certain types of wealth, a new social institution that combines productive activity with self-governance and new forms of property ...

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Afterword: Owners hip and the Boundary

Stephen Clingman

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pp. 188-198

The essays in this volume cover a broad range of topics, from questions of open source access on the Internet, to issues of heritage and ownership among native and aboriginal communities, to questions of who owns our genes, to claims on artworks, papers, languages, and archaeological finds in national and international contexts, and more. The...

About the Contributors

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pp. 199-200


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pp. 201-209

Back Cover

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pp. BC-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9781613762707
E-ISBN-10: 1613762704
Print-ISBN-13: 9781625340078
Print-ISBN-10: 1625340079

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 872122202
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Negotiating Culture

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • Anthropological ethics.
  • Intellectual property -- Moral and ethical aspects -- Case studies.
  • Cultural property -- Repatiration -- Case studies.
  • Cultural property -- Moral and ethical aspects -- Case studies.
  • Cultural property -- Protection -- Case studies.
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