Skip to main content


Cambodia’s Stolen Heritage: A Global Drama

Magnus Fiskesjö, Associate Professor, Anthropology

Friday, March 10, 4:30pm

In recent years, Cambodia has celebrated the spectacular recovery of ancient statues that were stolen from the country, and smuggled to museums and collectors in the US, and elsewhere. Some remain, but it is clear that the tide has turned. What happened to bring about this drastic change, in the way the world thinks of and studies art, archaeology and collectibles? Are we on the way to a new concept of world heritage, which could replace the narrow nationalism that marked the past?

Magnus Fiskesjö is an anthropologist, archaeologist, scholar of Asian studies, and former museum director. He was educated in his native Sweden as well as in Denmark, in China, and at the University of Chicago, where he received a joint PhD degree in Anthropology and in East Asian Languages and Civilizations. He served as a foreign service officer in his country’s missions in China and Japan, and was the Director of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, in Stockholm, 2000-2005. Since 2005, he teaches in Anthropology and in Asian studies at Cornell University, including a course on the ongoing genocides in Myanmar and in China, as well as on global heritage issues. His recent book Stories from an Ancient Land: Perspectives on Wa History and Culture was published by Berghahn in 2021.

Zoom link.