Announcement: Special Issue “Advances in Art Crime Research (2018)” Now Accepting Submissions

Dear Colleagues,

International trafficking of illicit goods around the globe has steadily diversified, and transnational art crime is no exception. Illegal excavations and antiquities theft from sites around the world have marred archaeologically-rich landscapes to the point that they now resemble “swiss cheese”; countless other sites of historical, scientific, and cultural significance around the globe have been devastated; illegally-obtained cultural treasures continue to be regularly sold on the international art market; and even terrorist organizations have become involved plundering and selling cultural property to fund their activities.

The international scholarly open access journal Arts (ISSN 2076-0752) invites submissions for a Special Issue on the topic of “Art Crime”. Appropriate topics include: art thefts and confiscations; faked and forged art; art fraud; art vandalism; illicit excavation and export of antiquities, artifacts, and other archaeological materials; cultural racketeering; transnational smuggling routes; terrorist involvement in the art and antiquities trade; museum security; emerging trends in art crime; trafficking in art and antiquities; art/antiquities protection and recovery.

We invite potential contributors to submit original articles on their research, whether theoretical or empirical, and both quantitative and qualitative approaches are welcome. Technical and/or field reports, short communications, as well as book reviews, will also be considered. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Blythe Alison Bowman Balestrieri, Ph.D. (Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA) and Tess Davis, Esq. (The Antiquities Coalition, Washington DC, USA) will serve as Guest Co-Editors for this Special Issue. Inquiries about the appropriateness of topics should be directed to:

Dr. Blythe Alison Bowman Balestrieri
Ms. Tess Davis, Esq.
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI’s English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Why Does the Past Matter? A Presidential Conversation on the Guiding Principles for Cultural Heritage

The Antiquities Coalition’s Executive Director Tess Davis participated in Why Does the Past Matter? A Presidential Conversation on the Guiding Principles for Cultural Heritage at the 116th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in Washington, DC last week. This session asked the following question: what are the most pressing global issues for cultural heritage and what should the role of the AAA be in addressing them? Demonstrating the importance to which the AAA gives these questions, the panel was organized by AAA Executive Board Member Elizabeth Chilton and chaired by outgoing AAA President Alisse Waterston, with the aim of advancing the conversation and consideration of cultural heritage in the world’s largest organization for professional anthropologists. Davis was joined by a wide range of leading experts in anthropology and related disciplines, including Sonya L. Atalay, Joshua Bell, Reidar Kvam and Patty Gerstenblith, the renowned legal scholar who served on the Antiquities Coalition’s #CultureUnderThreat Task Force.

During the nearly two hour session, the panelists framed their discussion around the AAA Guiding Principles on Cultural Heritage, value statements that were developed by the organization to steer its advocacy and outreach efforts. The principles seek to define what cultural heritage is and how the AAA can actively support its “ethical stewardship, study, and safeguarding… for present and future generations.” While the discussion addressed a wide range of current threats to cultural heritage—touching upon climate change, natural disasters, pollution, unchecked development, and tourism—speakers frequently returned to the interconnected challenges posed by the illicit antiquities trade, armed conflict, and violent extremism.  

All agreed that in the face of such dangers, an organization like the AAA, supported by its thousands of individual members, could be a powerful advocate for preservation. It is hoped that the new Guiding Principles will help to target its work and allow the organization to quickly respond in times of crisis. The AAA has been a leader in this field thus far, and the Antiquities Coalition has been honored to partner with it on a number of important initiatives, including the International Coalition to Protect Egyptian Antiquities, a high level forum to examine terrorist financing from cultural racketeering, and advocating for passage of the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act. We look forward to many more such collaborations in the future, and in the meantime, commend our colleagues at AAA for taking this important step with the new Guiding Principles.