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LAW 104 — Stolen Art: Historical, Cultural, and Legal Perspectives on Contested Ownership

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Saturday and Sunday
Course Format: On-campus (About Formats)
Duration: 2 days
Date(s): Oct 15—Oct 16
Time: 9:00 am—4:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Oct 8
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $405
Instructor(s): Stacey Jessiman
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
Saturday and Sunday
9:00 am—4:00 pm (PT)
Oct 15—Oct 16
2 days
Refund Date
Oct 8
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Stacey Jessiman
Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
Public fascination with art theft and destruction is evident from their almost daily coverage by media sources. This course will delve into intriguing legal, ethical, political, historical, cultural, and financial questions about contested art across five subject areas: (1) the acquisition of art during the Age of Imperialism (from Roman times through World War II); (2) Holocaust-era art takings and the evolution in legal and ethical responses to wartime looting; (3) the removal and repatriation of Indigenous cultural material; (4) theft from museums and private collectors; and (5) the illicit trade and destruction of antiquities. Students will be encouraged to think critically and comparatively about current high-profile stolen art disputes and issues, including the Parthenon Marbles; the Benin Bronzes and Colonial-era takings of African art; museum provenance research and restitution (or not) of Nazi-looted works; changing approaches to the repatriation of Indigenous cultural material and human remains; why thieves steal art from museums; legal systems’ varying responses to the good-faith acquisition of stolen art; and best responses to looting and destruction of antiquities.

Founder and Director, Jessiman Law

Stacey Jessiman is a corporate, commercial, and dispute resolution lawyer who has worked on business, dispute resolution, and art and cultural heritage matters at firms in the United States, France, and Canada. She has taught courses on art and cultural heritage theft and restitution at Stanford Law School (including coteaching “Stolen Art” with Stanford professor John Henry Merryman) and in Stanford’s humanities departments. She received a JD from the University of Toronto and an LLM from the University of British Columbia.