Public Lecture: Making Loot, Making Restitution – A Short (Legal) History, Speaker: Jakob Zollmann, Berlin Social Science Centre (WZB)


28 September 2021, virtual via Zoom


This lecture will introduce a number of key events and key sources from different historic periods regarding questions of loot and restitution. Was looting seen as a legitimate, lawful part of waging war against other nations or opponents? Was there something problematic for contemporaries of different historic periods in the act of looting and the subsequent act of making use of the objects looted? And when were questions raised about the restitution of looted objects? As we will see, the practice of making restitution is perhaps not as old as the practice of making loot – but almost.

Jakob Zollmann read history, philosophy, and law in Berlin, Paris, and San Francisco. He has taught at the University of Namibia where he also undertook research and at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. He was a visiting fellow at the German Historical Institute Paris and is researcher at the Center for Global Constitutionalism of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. His research focuses on the history of international law and on the legal and social history of colonial Africa.