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UW Trio Contribute Book Chapter in ‘Critical Race Theory in the Academy’ Publication

November 2, 2020

University of Wyoming College of Law Professor Darrell Jackson, UW Art Museum Director Nicole Crawford and former UW law student Toni Hartzel have co-written a book chapter that focuses on race theory.

“Critical Race Theory in the Academy” explores the effects of race and culture on the expanse of the American social fabric. Other educators and scholars also contributed to the book. Each challenges the narrative in education and in society through the application of critical race theory with a goal of alleviating institutionalized racism.

Written by Vernon Farmer and Evelyn Farmer, of Grambling State University, the book was recently published by Information Age Publishing.

Jackson, Crawford and Hartzel contribute to the discussion with their chapter, titled “Stealing Culture: The Internationalization of Critical Race Theory Through the Intersection of Criminal Law and Museum Studies.”

The chapter highlights the importance that art and artifacts play in shaping cultural narratives and identities, and the impact and responsibility borne by museums for their direct or indirect roles in removing these artifacts from their communities of origin. It is an outgrowth of work that Jackson and Crawford began exploring the past few years and rooted in discussions as part of the UW in Scotland Program in 2017.

Their research evaluates the legality, morality and social responsibilities of the institutions for acquiring and housing these items, and for reporting suspected thefts. The research goes on to explore the criminal and cultural challenges of dealing with objects that may have questionable provenance.

Jackson and Crawford’s work has coalesced into the Stealing Culture Project, where they advise collectors and museums; develop university courses; and engage communities around the world with presentations and discussions.

Jackson joined the UW College of Law in 2012 and is the Prosecution Assistance Program’s faculty director. He teaches courses in criminal law, criminal procedure, criminal adjudication and critical race theory. He received his law degree from George Mason University School of Law.

Crawford also serves as the chief curator of the UW Art Museum. She has a dual master’s degree in art history and museum studies, and is currently enrolled in a doctoral program at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in Visual Arts. Her research focuses on the role of the collector in the acquisition, care and display of museum objects.

Hartzel, from Cheyenne, is a recent UW graduate and works for the Cheyenne law firm Lance & Hall LLP. She began law school after her military service in the Army and is a West Point graduate. She worked with Jackson as a research assistant exploring the laws surrounding the theft of art and the theft of culture.

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