University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Forging International Relations through Cultural Heritage: The Case of China and America


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Film Description:Cultural heritage issues have recently come to the fore in China's foreign relations. Just last year, on January 14th of 2009, the US and China marked the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of mutual diplomatic relations by signing a landmark Memorandum of Understanding on cultural heritage protection. This agreement paved the way for a broader Strategic and Economic Dialogue initiated ten weeks later, a forum that now serves as the centerpiece of our bilateral relationship. Virtually unknown, however, are the roots of this agreement that go back a century. From 1912 to 1934, the US government, in conjunction with the Archaeological Institute of America and the Smithsonian Institution, sponsored a series of expeditions to China to pioneer with the Chinese government and academic community both archaeological research and systematic monument and artifact preservation. This collaborative venture resulted in numerous joint Sino-American excavations and exhibitions as well as the establishment of China's first national museum and an Antiquities Protection Law. Today as China and the US negotiate similar issues, this shared history provides us with both precedent and perspective.
Video Category:Lecture
Video Date:11/23/2010
Contributor: Clayton D. Brown
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