Returning Southeast Asia's Past
For the past century and a half, extensive looting and illicit trafficking of Southeast Asia's cultural heritage have scattered art objects from the region to museums and private collections around the world. Today, however, power relations are shifting, a new awareness is growing, and new questions are emerging about the representation and ownership of Southeast Asian cultural material located in the West. This book offers a timely consideration of object restitution and related issues across Southeast Asia, bringing together a range of viewpoints, including those of museum professionals and scholars in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, as well as Europe, North America, and Australia. The contributors address legal, cultural, political and diplomatic issues involved in the restitution process, and they also look at the ways object restitution is integral to evolving narratives of national identity. Ultimately, the book's editors conclude, restitution processes can transform narratives of loss into opportunities for gain, building knowledge and reconstructing relationships across national borders.
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