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February 14, 2011

The Journal of Art Crime: Essayist Kim Alderman on "The Ethics of Context"

In an essay titled “The Ethics of Context: Exploring Assumptions in Discussions about the Looting of Archaeological Sites,” Kim Alderman explores “underlying assumptions in arguments that increased regulation of the antiquities trade will combat the looting crisis, thereby preserving archaeological context:”

“The essay first distinguishes between ethical and legal arguments regarding illicit excavation of archaeological materials. The essay next considers whether archaeological context is “ethically worthy” because it helps people discover their past, or whether it is simple information to be commodified. Finally, the essay compares the ethical worth of context versus the immediate, palpable needs of subsistence looters.”

Kimberly Alderman is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She recently completed the ARCA Postgraduate Program, and writes a blog:

To seek out this piece, and many others, consider a subscription to the Journal of Art Crime—the first peer-reviewed academic journal covering art and heritage crime. ARCA publishes two volumes annually in the Spring and Fall. Individual, Institutional, electronic and printed versions are all available, with subscriptions as low as 30 Euros. All proceeds go to ARCA's nonprofit research and education initiatives. Please see the publications page for more information.