Restitution HISTART5127

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course considers the question of the return of art and cultural objects that have been removed from the ownership or possession of individuals, businesses, cultural communities and states through theft, societal displacement, looting, illicit trade and trafficking of culture or colonial appropriation.


10 x 2 hour sessions: one lecture, one seminar per week.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to masters at College level

Excluded Courses






One 3500 word Essay (70%)

One 15 minute Oral presentation (30%)

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Improve the student's understanding of the diversity that prevails globally in respect of grounds, mechanisms, processes and obstacles associated with restitution;

■ Equip the student so they are able to identify the ethical, legal and policy considerations that are pertinent to particular categories of restitution claims;

■ Highlight the complexity underlying certain questions of restitution from the perspective of museums that provide a portal of entry into the legitimate trade in art; and

■ Critically assess how ideology and interest underpin the policy and legal considerations that inform arguments about ownership, entitlement and stewardship.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Identify and distinguish between the categories, instruments, institutions and processes that affect the outcome of restitution claims;

■ Evaluate critically the mechanisms for the decision-making and outcomes of restitution claims;

■ Explain how the relationship between ethics, law and ideology affect arguments about ownership, entitlement and stewardship

■ Formulate a reasoned argument about why so few propositions on restitution command universal agreement, based on an analytical framework that supports the argument.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.