Daniel Sherman is Professor of Art History and History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Trained as a historian, he is a specialist in the cultural history of modern France. He has published on a variety of topics, including French provincial museums in the nineteenth century, commemoration of the First World War, and French primitivism during the "Thirty Glorious Years" (1945-74). His current research concerns archaeology, museums, and the concept of cultural property in France and its empire from the late nineteenth century to the 1970s.
This study seeks to demonstrate, through archival research and the close analysis of texts, that in France the idea of cultural property emerged from intimate relations between archaeology, museums, and colonial scholarship. The examples chosen, including Tunisia under the Protectorate, the ostensible forgers of prehistoric objects at Glozel in the 1920s, and the transfer of Taino pieces to the Musée de l’Homme in the 1930s allow for comparison of archaeological practices in distinct geographical contexts, help to retrace the development of scholarly networks of archaeologists and museum curators, and bring into focus the relationship between objects and knowledge under various administrative regimes. A concluding chapter will consider France’s role in the elaboration of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on cultural property and its domestic political ramifications.