Cosmopolitanism, Culture, and International Conventions: How UNESCO's Multilateral Agreements Reflect Globalization and Cold War Politics from 1945-1970

Robinson, Rebecca, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Nicoletti, Cynthia, Law, History, University of Virginia

There were two conventions that governed cultural property between 1954 and 1970. The first, the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, created a legal definition for cultural property for the first time and codified many existing norms to protect certain types of culture during wartime. The second one, the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, defined and set standards for the treatment of trade of cultural artifacts and antiquities. Though these conventions each had a distinct purpose, by exploring the ways they defined and discussed cultural property, one can see a significant shift in the way culture and property were defined on an international level. This shift has been identified by legal scholars, but the cause and meaning have remained unexplored. This thesis studies this change in legal meaning and links it to broader movements like globalization and Cold War conflict. By examining the two international conventions and the two UNESCO Director Generals that best represent UNESCO’s place in a rapidly globalizing international community, this paper seeks to use legal history to contextualize what appears to be a relatively minor modification in a narrowly applied international treaty to a substantial global shift that occurred between 1945 and 1970.

MA (Master of Arts)
Cultural Property, Cultural Heritage, Law, Cultural Property Law, Cultural Heritage Law, International Law, UNESCO, Globalization
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