This is the thing I am most stupidly proud of this week: the outline for my senior work, a 35-40 page paper exploring the relationship between art museums and archaeologists in approaching commercially exploited artifacts through the controversy over a proposed exhibition at the Smithsonian. To summarize, the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery wanted to put on an exhibition of artifacts commercially salvaged from a 9th century shipwreck off the coast of Indonesia. Archaeologists at the Smithsonian and across the States objected strongly due to the questionable ethics of exhibiting commercially exploited objects. In an amazing turn of events, a meeting that convened in December to discuss the issue decided to propose to Indonesia a re-excavation of the shipwreck instead of putting on the exhibition.
This issue has been one of the foremost things in my brain (along with sushi and Twitter) for the past YEAR. It’s been almost an entire year since I proposed this topic for my senior work to my Plan committee. Now, after researching the topic over the fall and interviewing the actual people involved in the debate over field work term, I’m in the process of turning all this information into a 35-40 page article that will be my advanced work in anthropology and art history and that I will eventually publish in a peer-reviewed journal. This was all really intimidating and scary until I brought this outline to my advisor, Carol Pal, who looked at it and said, “This works!” Which in Carol-ese means, “GOOD JOB I HAVE NO CRITICISM KEEP ON WORKING.” Emboldened by her accolades, I’ll begin writing this week.
- Meg ‘12