Sunday, April 29, 2012

What's that on the ground next to the hole? Oh, a mummy's foot...

Stunning photos have been put up on this facebook page by Egyptologists hoping to draw attention to ongoing looting, especially at the archaeological site of El Hibbeh. The question, though, is how the revulsion that such imagery generates could be converted into activism that might have some impact in restoring security to the sites in Egypt. Putting pressure on the Egyptian government is of course one possible way to use the anger, but how much impact do petitions have, especially if they are filled with the names of foreigners? Moreover, it is far from clear, at least from Chicago, who within the Egyptian government has the power to bring security to the sites. Is there anything that could be done to help Egyptians on a people-to-people level bypassing the government? Are there non-governmental groups of Egyptian citizens whose efforts could be enhanced by contributions? Would a Kickstarter-style campaign be able to pool such contributions towards something concrete, i.e., a site guard fund? Other suggestions for alternative approaches to channeling outrage are welcome.

PhD Opportunity in Cultural Policy and Place at University of Leicester

It is heartening to see opportunities like this beginning to appear, as the need for better-informed, data/research/theory-driven cultural policy is increasingly recognized.