Cynthia Scott

Independent Historian and Heritage Scholar
Dr. Cynthia Scott is an independent historian and heritage scholar who completed a Ph.D. in Modern European History, and an M.A. in Cultural Studies, at Claremont Graduate University in Los Angeles. Her research interests center on post-colonial cultural diplomacy and debates over heritage and memory in comparative international perspective. Her writing is guided mainly by the questions: how do groups create a sense of the shared past, how do they navigate identity in the face of historical change, and how do they negotiate relationships of cultural cooperation and exchange in the aftermath of conflict and historical injustice? Her dissertation on the history of post-colonial cultural diplomacy between the Netherlands and Indonesia, 1949–1979, focuses on how Dutch officials handled demands from Indonesian leaders for the return of cultural property and, in the process, how they gave renewed meaning to the history of Dutch colonialism in the East Indies. She is currently completing a book manuscript that compares how a decolonizing Netherlands and United Kingdom defined the renewal of cultural relations--both with and without the return of cultural property--in ways that gave new meaning to their histories of colonialism in Asia and Africa.

Recent Publications:

“Renewing the ‘Special Relationship’ and Rethinking the Return of Cultural Property: The Netherlands and Indonesia.” Journal of Contemporary History, Special Issue: Looted Art and Restitution in the Twentieth Century: Europe in Transnational and Global Perspective (forthcoming).
“Sharing the Divisions of the Colonial Past: An Assessment of the Netherlands-Indonesia Shared Cultural Heritage Project, 2003-2006.” International Journal of Heritage Studies 20, no. 4 (February 2014): 181-195. []