Virtual Mount talk to detail impact of cultural property theft

Posted 2/11/21

Kate Burmon, assistant professor of Criminology at Mount Saint Mary College, will kick off this semester’s Investigating Research on Campus (iROC) series with “Archaeology, Annihilation, …

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Virtual Mount talk to detail impact of cultural property theft

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Kate Burmon, assistant professor of Criminology at Mount Saint Mary College, will kick off this semester’s Investigating Research on Campus (iROC) series with “Archaeology, Annihilation, and Anomie: Consequences of Looting and Destruction of Cultural Property” on Thursday, February 11, at 4 p.m.

The talk will take place virtually via Zoom. It is free and open to the public, but you must register to attend. Register at MSMC.edu/BurmoniROC.

Archaeological looting is illicitly digging at cultural heritage sites in order to steal valuable antiquities for sale on the black market – or even the legitimate art market. In addition to affecting the ability to study these objects in the future and destroying evidence present at their origin sites, archaeological looting also has the potential to alter the art historical canon, affect the role of museums, and call attention to issues of ownership.

The upcoming talk will highlight archaeological looting in the Middle East, tying art historical consequences to theories from criminology and art history.

Burmon’s presentation builds on work she initially started while researching her master’s thesis on the historical consequences of art looting from the Iraq National Museum during the invasion of Baghdad in 2003. Subsequently, she’s delved further into the consequences of archaeological looting and plundering of sites during war to better understand the theoretical underpinnings from both art historical and criminologist angles.

Last February, Burmon was invited by the Departments of Classics and History of Art & Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh to speak on this topic as part of their Faculty Fellow Lecture series.

Burmon holds a master’s degree from New York University in Museum Studies and a second master’s degree in the History of Art at Indiana University, specializing in Islamic Art & Architecture and Ancient Greek & Roman Art. She earned her doctorate from Northeastern University in Criminology & Justice Policy and her current research focuses primarily on fine art theft, examining variables significant to stolen art recovery. Additionally, she examines the art historical impact caused by archaeological looting and the destruction of fine art, cultural property, and cultural heritage, primarily in regions of conflict and economic uncertainty. Burmon’s pedagogical interests largely center on community engagement and service learning in criminology classrooms, using projects to prepare students for positions in the field.

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