The Return of Cultural Heritage to Latin America Nationalism, Policy, and Politics in Colombia, Mexico, and Peru
The Return of Cultural Heritage to Latin America takes a new approach to the question of returns and restitutions. It is the first publication to look at the domestic politics of claiming countries in order to understand who supports the claims and why.
Drawing on analysis of articles published in national newspapers and archival documents and interviews with individuals involved in return claims, the book demonstrates that such claims are inherently political. Focusing on Colombia, Mexico, and Peru, the book analyses how return claims contribute to the strengthening of state-sponsored discourses on the nation; the policy formation process that leads to the formulation of return claims; and who the main actors of the claims are, including civil society individuals, experts, state authorities, and Indigenous communities. The book proposes explanations for why Latin American countries are interested in specific objects held in Western museums and why these claims have come to light over the past three decades.
The Return of Cultural Heritage to Latin America argues that return claims ought to be the object of public debate, allowing contemporary societies to address the legacy of colonialism. The book will be essential reading for scholars and students engaged in the study of museums and heritage, political science, history, anthropology, cultural policy, and Latin America.
List of Figures and Tables; Acknowledgements; Acronyms; Archives consulted for this research; Introduction – The international debate on returns and restitutions; Chapter 1 – Return claims from Peru, Mexico, and Colombia; Chapter 2 – Return claims, instruments of the construction of national discourses; Chapter 3 – The expansion of the cultural state; Chapter 4 – Agency and politics in return claims: Who claims and whose claim?; Chapter 5 – The role of international actors in return claims and their resolution; Conclusion; References; Index.