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The CultureGrrl Curriculum: The Syllabus Travels to Greece

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Ricardo Elia

As I briefly mentioned some time ago, I will be speaking on Mar. 18 at the Athens International Conference for the Return of Cultural Objects to Their Countries of Origin. Go to p. 12 to see my panel—“Museums, Sites and Cultural Context.” What exactly do they mean by this? No guidance given.

So I interpreted my assignment in inimitable CultureGrrl fashion, with an irreverent PowerPoint photo essay illustrating and critiquing how American museums display, interpret and suggest a context for antiquities about which they have varying degrees of information (some having been professionally excavated, some not). I’m not sure that’s what they had in mind, but perhaps I’ll provide some relief from all those earnest legal and archaeological dissertations.

How do I manage to get myself mixed up in these groups where I don’t really fit in? Perhaps, for the Athens event, it relates to my status as professional archaeologist of museums, digging for best and worst
practices and investigating the arcane rituals of that endangered
tribe, American museum professionals.

Actually, I think I have a pretty good idea of why the Hellenic Ministry of Culture decided to invite me—my NY Times Op-Ed piece advocating the reunification of the Parthenon marbles could not have hurt my cause.

The only fellow American on my panel is Ricardo Elia (above), Boston University’s associate professor and chairman of the archaeology department. I already knew a little about him from David Gill‘s Looting Matters blog, but I hit the web to find out more.

There he was, on BU’s very public Rate My Professor site. Happily for the Athens attendees, he’s rated high for “clarity.” The students appreciated his sense of humor and enjoyed his class. But wait, what’s this? His “hotness” score was zero! Looks pretty hot to me. Maybe you just gotta be over 40.

The speakers on other panels whom I’m really hot to see include Americans Malcolm Bell and Joan Aruz; Italians Paolo Ferri and Louis Godart; and, of course, my aforementioned blogging buddy, David Gill of the U.K.

I’ll look forward to giving you my impressions of the site where the conference will be held—the New Acropolis Museum, expected to open to the public in September.

You won’t even miss me, art-lings: Although I’ll be posting little, if at all, while in Greece, I’ll be leaving you in excellent hands—a very distinguished guest blogger, famous and widely read for his brilliant insights and lively writing. His name is oddly appropriate for his task of filling in.

More on the surrogate CultureGrrl (can a guy be a Grrl?), next week.

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