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Contested Collections: Grappling With History and Forging Pathways for Repatriation

A virtual symposium to examine the complicated histories of cultural heritage collections, the expropriation of artifacts through colonialism and looting, the ethics of ownership and restitution, and decolonization in libraries, archives, and museums.

Paving a Way Forward: Current and Future Approaches to Restitution 

May 19, 2022 12:30-2pm PDT



Modern reproduction of Moctezuma II headdress / Photo credit: Thomas Ledl (CC BY-SA 4.0)


Due to colonialism and looting, many Western cultural heritage institutions have numerous items in their collections that belong to other countries and communities. What can be done to amend the status quo? This session will provide examples of current policies and processes of governments, institutions, and individuals related to the repatriation of cultural objects. Panelists will also discuss the challenges of and opportunities for decolonizing libraries, archives, and museums, including the importance of reparative and cooperative practices.



  • Leila Amineddoleh, Founding Partner, Amineddoleh & Associates, LLC; Adjunct Professor of Law, New York University

  • Damien Webb (Palawa), Manager, Indigenous Engagement Branch, State Library of New South Wales 

  • Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, Professor, Central European University - Vienna 

Moderator: T-Kay Sangwand, Librarian for Digital Collection Development, UCLA Library

Session Recording