Who Owns the Past? Archaeology, Heritage and Global Conflicts

Who owns the past? Is cultural heritage a universal right? Confront these questions in Professor Hodder's Winter Quarter Thinking Matters course, "Who Owns the Past? Archaeology, Heritage and Global Conflicts (THINK 22)."

About the course

Students observe the Mission Delores architecture

Who Owns the Past? Archaeology, Heritage and Global Conflicts

This course interrogates the relationship between the past and the present through archaeology. Increasingly, heritage sites are flash points in cultural, economic, and religious conflicts around the globe. Clearly history matters, but how do certain histories come to matter in particular ways, and to whom? Through close study of important archaeological sites, you will learn to analyze landscapes, architecture, and objects, as well as reflect on the scholarly and public debates about history and heritage around the world. Far from being a neutral scholarly exercise, archaeology is embedded in the heated debates about heritage and present-day conflicts.

Professor Ian Hodder

Anthropology and Archaeology 
Dunlieve Family Professor

Professor Ian Hodder

Professor Hodder has been conducting the excavation of the 9,000 year-old Neolithic site of Catalhoyuk in central Turkey since 1993. The 25-year project has three aims - to place the art from the site in its full environmental, economic and social context, to conserve the paintings, plasters and mud walls, and to present the site to the public. The project is also associated with attempts to develop reflexive methods in archaeology. 


Learn more about who Teaches Thinking Matters

Exploring outside of the classroom

Students visit Mission DeloresStudents visited Mission Dolores in San Francisco. Here the curator of the Old Mission, Andrew Galvan, explains how this progressive mission seeks to represent Native American history, which is often invisible at California missions.