‘APPROVED BY US FORCES’: Showing and Hiding Art from Guantaìnamo

Erin Thompson

Moderated by Neil K. Aggarwal

October 25, 2018 · 12-1PM

Columbia University, Fayerweather Hall, Room 411

The Committee on Global Thought (CGT) Lunchtime Seminars are a forum for Columbia University faculty and visiting scholars to present current research characterizing and assessing issues of global importance. Learn more about the CGT Lunchtime Seminars by clicking here.

About the Speaker

Erin Thompson is an American art historian and lawyer. She is a professor in the Department of Art and Music at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York). She studies art crime, including antiquities looting, the deliberate destruction of art, and art produced by detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military detention camp.

Thompson holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a Ph.D. in Art History from Columbia University. She has written about art theft, repatriation cases, and ISIS destruction of ancient art and archeological sites like Palmyra, Syria. She has given a TEDx talk on “Terrorists and Archeologists: How the Past Belongs to the Present”.

In 2015, Thompson co-curated the exhibit “The Missing: Rebuilding the Past” at the Andrew and Anya Shiva Gallery, John Jay College, which included works by artists and scholars, such as Morehshin Allahyari, who protest ISIS and other forms of destruction of the past through creative protests and reconstructions.

Read more about Erin Thompson.

Background Reading

Erin Thompson has provided recommended reading in advance of the Lunchtime Seminar. Download the PDF.

Photo Gallery


The seminars take place on Thursdays from 12-1pm in Fayerweather Hall, Room 411 unless otherwise noted.