SSP100: 010
Den of Antiquities

Prof. Leslie Mechem Ladd 211 x5464
lmechem@skidmore.edu Office Hours: MWF 10-11:00
Peer Mentor: Hillary Reder Wait 135 Phone: 857 919 3325
hreder@skidmore.edu Office Hours: TU 4-5 & TH 5-6 Spa

Web Resources


Course Description:
What is the difference between collecting and looting antiquities? What constitutes ownership of an art object? What distinquishes individual from museum collections? What are the ethical obligations of collectors? Students will examine the trade in antiquities stretching from the first "collector" - a Roman general who stole art from Sicily after sacking it in 212 BCE - to Lord Elgin's "purchase" of the Parthenon marbles in 1806, to the current scandals in the trading of ancient art which have embroiled NYC's Metropolitan Museum and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Our discussions will include the most recent controversies that have embroiled the museum, gallery and auction-house worlds, pitting national interests against private enterprise. Various museum collections will serve as a laboratory for our study of these questions: the Tang, local museums, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Goals: To introduce students to disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives
To help students identify problems, formulate productive questions, and develop answers to those questions

To read critically, and gather and interpret evidence
To develop visual analytical skills and learn to navigate in and interpret material in museum collections
To communicate effectively and precisely in writing and speaking