Ethics of Cultural Property (MUSM7035)


This unit tracks the ethical and political disputes surrounding the ownership, control and care of cultural property. While giving historical background on religious iconoclasm, the focus will be on notable modern cases, from the Elgin Marbles or the Benin Bronzes in the colonial era to recent acts like the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas or the ransack of the Iraq Museum. Australian museum practice in relation to Indigenous cultural property and issues of repatriation will be considered, as will the art market, in both legal and philosophical dimensions.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


1x2hr seminar/week


1x2500wd case study (35%), 1x3000wd Essay (45%), 1x500wd Seminar presentation (10%), participation (10%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.