Cuno, Waxman, Appiah, Shapiro… and God. Coming November 19th, to an NYU near you.

Posted on November 4, 2008


Those are some big names in cultural property law.  Alright, maybe not God, but you get my drift. They’ll be meeting for a panel, “Antiquities Wars: A Conversation About Loot and Legitimacy,” at NYU’s Hemmerdinger Hall on November 19th.  And get this — it’s FREE.  And OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.  This is one of the very rare moments that I wish I was in New York City.  They did tell me that they’d be recording the program, and that if at all possible they would make that recording available to me.  In the interest of my own potential post-panel edification, I told the very nice people at NYU that I would post their announcement here to help get the word out.

The New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU presents

Antiquities Wars

A conversation about loot and legitimacy

Wednesday, November 19th, 7 pm

NYU’s Hemmerdinger Hall
Silver Center for Arts and Science
100 Washington Square East


James Cuno
Director, The Art Institute of Chicago
Author, Who Owns Antiquity?

Sharon Waxman
Formerly of The New York Times
Author, Loot: The Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World

Kwame Anthony Appiah
Philosopher, Princeton University
Author, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers

Daniel Shapiro
International Cultural Property Society
President Emeritus

This event is free and open to the public.

“Shall we empty the great museums of the world because one source country after another seeks the return of treasures past?  Are there solutions to this raging conflict?  Sometimes it seems not.  There is an ethical betrayal in displaying an artifact in a museum that has consorted with smugglers to possess it.  But the viewing public loses when museums react out of fear of prosecution, or when donors cease lending their works to museums because of the risk of legal jeopardy.  There may be justice in returning plundered pieces that are sought.  On the other hand, there is no benefit to returning a priceless artifact to a country that is not prepared to care for it.”

With these words from the conclusion of her new book Loot: The Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World, former New York Times correspondent Sharon Waxman summons just some of the issues that will form the basis for a spirited evening of conversation in one of the NY Institute for the Humanities’ most timely symposia yet.

The event, on Wednesday evening, November 19th, at 7:00 pm, at NYU’s Hemmerdinger Hall, 100 Washington Square East (just south of Waverly), will be free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact the New York Institute for the Humanities at 212.998.2101 or

The New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU was established in 1976 for promoting the exchange of ideas between academics, professionals, politicians, diplomats, writers, journalists, musicians, painters, and other artists in New York City—and between all of them and the city. It currently comprises 220 fellows. Throughout the year, the NYIH organizes numerous public events and symposia.