Student Note on "Cultural Pragmatism"

Matthew Hoffman, J.D. candidate at the University of Iowa has an article, Cultural Pragmatism:  A New Approach to the International Movement of Antiquities, 95 Iowa L. Rev 667 (2010).  Here is his abstract:

ABSTRACT: Since World War II, the debate between cultural internationalists and cultural nationalists has shaped international cultural-property law. Recently, some American museums, engaged in their enduring struggle to balance a mission of public education and scholarly study with the increasing risk of acquiring artifacts of disputed provenance, began to promote a middle ground of “cooperation, mutual understanding, and respect” between acquiring museums and source countries that builds upon the goals of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. This new approach, defined here as “cultural pragmatism” attempts to bridge the impasse between advocates of the two opposing doctrines that has resulted from the adversarial climate following the Second Circuit’s decision in United States v. Schultz and the new power of foreign patrimony laws to reach antiquities imported into the United States. This Note analyzes the new approach and offers the classification system of the Japanese Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties as a means to its further implementation.

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