Digital Heritage Surrogates, Decolonization, and International Law: Restitution, Control, and the Creation of Value as Reparations and Emancipation

Lucas Lixinski

This article argues that digital and post-colonial engagements with heritage can be reconciled only if they happen in the terms set by the once-colonized community, and for their benefit. Further, the law can play a significant role in embedding certain ethical commitments, provided it can steer away from legal categories such as authenticity and access; categories which, despite their neutral or even cosmopolitan aspirations, function as reinforcers of a status quo that privileges colonial possession of heritage. In order to pursue this thesis, the article focuses on the ways in which the digitization of heritage was suggested – in the context of the Sarr-Savoy Report about the return of objects from French museums to certain African countries – to constitute a precondition for the return of cultural objects taken during colonialism. Drawing on that report, as well as on the responses to it, the article queries whether and how digitization can work to redress (or unfortunately, in some cases reinforce) the harms of colonialism.
Słowa kluczowe: digital heritage, digital surrogates, restitution, colonialism, international law

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Czasopismo ukazuje się w sposób ciągły on-line.

Pierwotną formą czasopisma jest wersja elektroniczna.