ARTS 1303-Art History Survey

Project Description

Students must work independently to write a short paper reflecting on an art object whose ownership is contested: The Benin Bronzes, the Rosetta Stone, or the Parthenon Marbles. Students will learn about one of these art objects and consider and propose a solution to the object ownership disputes. All materials needed for this project are posted in Blackboard, under “Paper Turn In and Information,” then under “Opinion Paper.” 

Part one:

1. Each student will select one of the three available art objects to base their project on.

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2. Each student will read the posted news articles/watch videos about their art object. They can consult other sources as well. They will then type a two-page response to the posted questions about their object. Opinions can be informed by the posted news articles and videos. A works cited page isn’t necessary unless quotes are used.

Part two

3. On or before the deadline, students will turn in three printed pages total:

a. Two typed pages of writing.

b. One cover page.

Your essay should answer the following questions, but it should do so in a formal essay format, with clear, cohesive writing and organization. Elaborate on your answers—this is intended to be a paper where your critical thinking skills and communication skills are evaluated. Please answer these questions in paragraph/essay format:

1. What is so important about this object? In other words, analyze the historical relevance and cultural significance of this work of art.

2. Do you feel this object was taken ethically? Do you feel that this object should be repatriated (returned) to its country of origin? Why or why not? Ultimately, who is the rightful owner of this object?

3. In general, do you personally believe that Western countries have a responsibility to make amends for objects taken from colonial era looting? Why or why not?

4. In your opinion, what might some of the consequences be if wealthier nations consistently took works of art from less wealthy nations over decades and centuries, regardless of their rationale?

5. What are some of the ethical arguments that support the return of these objects to their countries of origin?

6. What are some of the ethical arguments against the return of these objects to their countries of origin?

7. How might returning these objects to their countries of origin impact global communities?

8. If you were in charge, how would you solve this problem? Is there anything that YOU can do now to impact issues of object ownership and repatriation?

9. Share any concluding thoughts you may have on this issue. 

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