Monday, 24 November 2014

Jessica Dietzler Says Dealer Sayles is Right

In reply to my comments on Wayne Sayles recent blog post where he was complaining about being the victim of a 'conspiracy' Jessica Dietzler announces on Twitter:
I read the snippet you referenced in your post and he's right that evidence is lacking. He's also right to question things.
Well, Jessica Dietzler may think "evidence is lacking" for ISIL raising funds through antiquity sales. I suggest she get in touch with her US colleagues who have reached another conclusion and explain to them why they've got it all wrong and she knows better. I also suggest that it might be nice if her own Glasgow project might step into the "trafficking culture" debate that is on everybody's lips at the moment. We note that nobody there voiced any objections when in June this year journalist Heather Pringle gave some Glasgow work on 1970s looting in Cambodia some publicity by linking it with "terrorism" (in fact a precursor of the current discussion as it happens, and when I started taking a more sceptical interest in the glibness of such arguments).

As for Mr Sayles, the reason why he's "questioning things" has nothing whatsoever to do with intellectual enquiry, but defence of the "traditional rights" of the antiquities market in full defiance of what I thought the Glasgow Trafficking project was set up to deal with.

The young researcher then comes out with a 'what if?' which suggests she has apparently not been following the forums where this has already been attempted:
Why not just reach out and have a civilised dialogue [with dealers] that affords each other respect?
Yep, fluffy bunnies and all. Why not? ("Just" reach out?) First of all, perhaps she'd like to see what artefact collectors of the ACCG ilk consider a "civilised dialogue". Yahoo's ancient artefact scrum group might be a good place to start. I also suggest she take a little look at Mr Sayles' literary output over the past decade and see what he and his ACCG mates write about archaeology and archaeologists before having too high hopes about any kind of 'respect' from that quarter. So if Ms Dietzler thinks there is no reason why we should not ("just") have a civilised and respectful dialogue with dugup antiquities dealers, perhaps she'll show us how she thinks it should be done.

Vignette: Fluffy bunny approach advocated by Glasgow researcher.


Les de Lioncourt IV said...

Judging from the Twitter discussion Jessica Dietzler and yourself were having, rather reflects her emphasis on undertaking thorough critical research first and draw conclusions, and then use such empirical, fact-based results to approach those who are (considered) 'looters', and usually excluded from any debate. Let alone a critical academic one. She seems to argue it is best to include all parties involved in debating and solving the illicit antiquities trade, instead of keeping it an elitist hobby that amplifies further exclusion of those closest to the damaging fire set on cultural heritage sites. Transparency and cooperation at all levels is required, and to be honest, by posting items on a fellow professional in the field, claiming her to have a 'fluffy bunny' point of view—a view that actually represents a humanistic take on deeply rooted socio-economic problems and their criminogenic effects the poorest in the world—is highly unprofessional and offensive. If anything, you seem to rather prefer attacking the open-minded conditions for a critical yet constructive archaeological and criminological debate on trafficking illicit antiquities, than joining in and add evidence informed arguments.

Paul Barford said...

Well, I really do not know what she was saying, 140 characters is no way to have a conversation.

I am not entirely sure I understand what you are getting at here either.

If you do not see 'evidence-informed arguments' here, then I suggest you go over to one of the dealers' blogs, you'll probably find something more to your tastes there I am sure. Loads of inclusion there.

David Gill said...

Is there a tension between those who see the world from an archaeological perspective and those who operate within a criminological context?

Paul Barford said...

No idea what the problem is, if these folk do not like the way I phrase my posts, or what I write here, they need only stop reading my blog. Why is that so difficult?

Les de Lioncourt IV said...

If we'd consider archaeology inherently (neo)colonialist, in denial of its own criminogenic creations and, therefore, eventually and essentially state-corporate crime enhancing, then yes, there isn't just a tension; there's an absolute conflict (of perspectives). But that's a mere consideration.

By the way, suggesting to a critical audience to stop reading one's blog so that the blogger won't be confronted with its readers' critiques, reflects a fear of being called out on unprofessionialism and being exposed on using and sustaining convenient (yet false) truths on, let's say, heritage-funded terrorism. If you can't handle other voices and perspectives, then stop blogging or react with a set of robust arguments to keep the debate fruitful and helpful for ALL of those victimised by trafficking antiquities and the socio-economic conditions sustaining it.

Paul Barford said...

What I suggested is, instead of complaining that things on my blog are not written in the way you want, you might find it more satisfying to look elsewhere for what you want.

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