Culture is the backbone of every nation. It develops naturally in the lives of every individual, and gives people a sense of community and shared stories of where they come from. But cultures don’t form overnight, they require centuries of practice and development. In some places, such as Bhutan, the culture is preserved through geographical isolation and government protection. Other places, like China, have embraced the idea of preserving cultural heritage. Ultimately, it is up to each of us to protect our cultural heritage, or else risk becoming a victim of it.
Cultural appropriation disputes usually involve multiple racial groups and a range of diverse cultural groups. The authors argue that cultural appropriation is permissible where countervailing factors such as the social value of the act, the free speech of those involved, and the extent of the group’s membership are at play. The authors also discuss contemporary First Nations artists’ appropriation of Indigenous art. Although cultural appropriation is often offensive, it can sometimes be a positive force that serves the interests of the appropriating group.
Many people may not know that the destruction of the U.S. Capitol was part of the human race’s heritage. However, the U.S. government’s recognition of the cultural value of heritage led to a national museum at the foot of the U.S. Capitol. In addition, the Conquistadors raided the Incas and Aztecs and turned them into a cultural symbol for a new South Africa. In this case, prison guards and prisoners became docents and museum divers educate visitors about the period.
The idea of cultural property began with a focus on material heritage, but it has since expanded to encompass oral traditions, traditional knowledge, and stories. Similarly, today’s concept of cultural property includes intangible heritage as well, presenting further puzzles for the field of cultural property. In this regard, it is crucial to recognize the enduring value of cultural patrimony. The United States has adopted the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) to protect these artifacts and remains.
The concept of cultural heritage has been around for centuries, and has been instrumental in the development of museums, great libraries, and ethnographic collections. It is an essential part of nation-building and an internationalist world order, and it has spawned countless new fields of study. Today, we must protect the heritage that is our common heritage. Our collective memories and traditions are our greatest assets, and we should respect them with as much care as possible.
Some scholars argue that cultural property claims should be governed by universal human values, such as the value of common humanity. However, there is considerable ambiguity in the legal framework and application of cultural property, with human rights courts reluctant to recognize an infringement when cultural property was lost decades ago. And the concept of cultural property is not necessarily based on ownership. It depends on the definition of cultural heritage. But it is crucial to understand its origins and determine its true value.