JURD7367 International Law, Human Rights and Cultural Heritage

Lecturer: Lucas Lixinski

What is the course about?
This course is about how cultural heritage (monuments, sites, traditional practices) is protected in international law. We all have our own culture and identity, and this course explores how this culture is translated by and into the law. The law to a large extent creates and limits what cultural heritage and cultural identity is, and we therefore need to pay attention to this domain. Things like ISIS looting and the destruction of heritage in conflict is one aspect of what we study which puts into evidence the importance of thinking about heritage, not only as what we visit while on holidays, but stuff that is highly important and needs legal protection.

Why does the subject interest you?
This is the primary area of my research. It interests me because cultural heritage law is a stage where law, social justice and politics all come together, but more quietly. This quieter context lets us look at the issues for what they really are, with significant less knee-jerk or emotional responses. Plus, you get to look at awesome things and think about the greatest places on earth while doing it!

Do you have any advice for students who are interested in the course?
Come on board! There is work, for sure, but it can also be very rewarding if you are willing to do it.

How will this course be relevant in the future?
I like to say that, since I started working with cultural heritage law, I became a really annoying tourist, because I am always aware of the tensions and the law around the places and museums I visit (I often go to museums and can point out the stuff that has been potentially looted, for instance). But, most importantly, it allows you to work in art disputes, heritage management, and more broadly to think about how the law shapes to a large extent how we think about our own cultural identity.