Art Police and Tomb Robbers: Creating Italy through Cultural Power

Lecture Series / Brown Bag
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - 12:30
Event Location: 
Fiona Greenland, University of Virginia
Through much of its history, Italy was Europe’s "seat of the arts," an artistic playground for foreign élites and powers who bought, sold, and sometimes plundered millions of artworks and antiquities. Today, Italy asserts control over its cultural heritage through an activist legal model and influential art police unit, which dedicates itself to the eradication of tomb robbing. Italy has turned heritage into cultural power—a controversial convergence of art, money, and diplomacy. This talk explains how modern Italy came to wield such power, and with what effects on the state's political and cultural influence. Fiona Rose Greenland is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. She studies art/science technologies, cultural policy, nationalism, and art markets. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Michigan, and a D.Phil. in Classical Archaeology from Oxford University. Before training as a sociologist, she worked as an archaeologist and conducted fieldwork in Italy and Spain. Her book, Ruling Culture: Art Police, Tomb Robbers, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy, will be published by the University of Chicago Press in spring 2021. Register here: JMEUCE lecture