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Tulane Law School


Courses will be held for four weeks at the Facoltà di Giurisprudenza at the University of Siena from Monday through Friday, with field trips on two of the Fridays.  Students will earn a total of six ABA credits for the program. 

The credit to be awarded to non-Tulane students will be determined by their own institutions.  There will also be required field trips to the Duomo in Siena, the Uffizi art gallery in Florence and to an archaeological site and visits with officers of the Carabinieri charged with the protection of art, as well as tours of Siena and Sienese museums.

The Academic Course: International Law, Cultural Heritage, and the Arts (6 credits)

This course includes four subtopics that will prepare students for work in the field of International Law, Cultural Heritage and the Arts. The subtopics include:

The International Legal Framework for the Protection of Art and Cultural Property, Professors Gerstenblith & Francioni 

Designed for law students, students in other disciplines, and working professionals, this portion of the course will provide an introduction to the complex and often confusing web of principles and systems that constitute international law.  Concepts such as sovereignty, jurisdiction, and standing will be considered, as well as the basic rights of both nations and individuals to their art and their cultural property.

The following major conventions regarding the protection of art and cultural property will be addressed: the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, and the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.

From Black to Gray: the Markets in Stolen and Looted Art and Antiquities, Professor Larson 

This section will address the recourses to the theft and smuggling of stolen art or looted antiquities, with estimated annual losses as high as $6 billion, according to the FBI Art Crime Team.  Particular emphasis will be given to the problem of archaeological site looting.  Among the specific topics covered are: the domestic implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention among market nations; the prosecution for dealing in stolen art and antiquities; and criminal forfeiture.  Finally, we will discuss the particular problems faced by auction houses and purchasers.  Case studies, including the looting of the Iraq Museum and of archaeological sites in Iraq, will be used throughout the course to illustrate these legal principles.

Beyond the Law: The Ethics of Collectors and Collections, Professor Flora  

This section will explore the ever-changing ethical issues surrounding the acquisition of art by museums and collectors, who now often go beyond the law to embrace new ethical codes of collecting. What duty does a museum have to ensure that it is not acquiring stolen property?  When must property that is discovered to be stolen be returned to its rightful owner or to its country of origin?  Is it ethical for a private collector to purchase a masterpiece, and deny the public access to it?  Taking advantage of resources in Siena itself, such as the city Paintings Gallery, the Cathedral Museum, and the Archaeological Museum, this section will look at how and why art was and is acquired by museums and collectors in Italy and abroad. We will look in particular at collecting policies and ethical codes of American museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum, and their at-times controversial acquisition of Italian works by seminal figures in Sienese painting such as Duccio.  Reflecting on issues of ownership, culture, and identity as faced by museums, we will also examine works of Etruscan art at the center of recent repatriation efforts by Italy, and also address the Elgin or Parthenon Marbles controversy.

The Protection of Art in Times of Crisis: from War to Natural Disasters, Professors Pavoni and Lenzerini

From earliest times, art and cultural property have been treated, and prized as “the spoils of war.”  In just the past century, civilization has witnessed massive theft and destruction of art and cultural property during armed conflicts, ranging from the systematic looting of the artwork of entire nations by the Nazis during WWII, to the deliberate eradication of Buddhist temples and monasteries in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge, to the recent pillaging of an entire national museum. Unfortunately, the legal efforts to protect art and cultural property during such armed conflicts have not kept pace.  This section will survey those efforts, beginning with the ancient “laws of war,” continuing up through the Lieber Code, the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, and ending with Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. In addition, a portion of the time will be devoted to the issue of protecting art during other times of crisis, such as natural disasters.

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