Posted: February 20th, 2022
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Who gets to visit the caves?
Soon after Paleolithic cave paintings were first discovered, tourists and scholars alike flocked to the caves. All of the bodies moving through these closed spaces changed the environments. The paintings began to change and disintegrate.
Governments had different responses. Some closed the caves. Some allowed in only a small number of people. Some built replicas.
Here are a few articles explaining the situation:
“Back to the Cave (Links to an external site.)” from the NY Times
“Dangers to Cave Art (Links to an external site.)” from the Royal Society of Chemistry
“The Chauvet Cave Replica is Nonsense (Links to an external site.)” from The Guardian
And for help understanding the big picture surrounding at-risk cultural heritage sites, consult ARCHES (Links to an external site.) (At-Risk Cultural Heritage Education Series) from Smarthistory.org.
The matter is complicated and pits the interests of science, preservation, tourism, economies, and human curiosity against each other. So it is perfect for our course learning objective related to civic and social responsibility as it relates to art!
For this discussion, you will explain the perspective of one of these parties and justify its solution. Then you will compare this to your own perspective. In some cases, you may have to imagine what the person’s perspective would be. In other cases, the perspective is spelled out in the articles.
Jigsawing Discussion (choose a piece that has not been taken already)
To understand this issue and how art relates to social responsibility, let’s use the jigsawing technique. Choose one of these “pieces” or aspects of the issue and make your posting. Remember that once someone has chosen a piece, you cannot use it. This means you have to read your groupmates’ postings to figure out which pieces are still available.
Pieces–Choose one and begin your posting explaining which one you have chosen.
Explain the perspective and solution of preservationists who want to close the caves, then compare this to your perspective.
Explain the perspective and solution of regional governments who offer replica models, then compare this to your perspective.
Explain the perspective and solution of art historians who want to study the original images, then compare this to your perspective.
Explain the perspective and solution of national governments who want the money generated by tourists, then compare this to your perspective.
Explain the perspective and solution of the landowner where the cave is located, then compare this to your perspective.
Explain the perspective and solution of someone who wants the caves open and accessible, then compare this to your perspective.
Choose one of your groupmates’ explanations and provide another point to support their argument, then compare this to your perspective.
Once you have read the prompt, consulted the resources, and read your groupmates’ postings, click Reply. Your discussion posting must:
be at least 200 words. (Insert hard returns to separate ideas).
begin by identifying the piece of the puzzle you are discussing.
use of the relevant terms, concepts, and information from the videos, module, and additional resources.
use professional, written English language, including correct punctuation, spelling, and capitalization.
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