The Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA) at Cal State San Bernardino, in collaboration with the Department of History, will present a lecture by Justin M. Jacobs, associate professor of history at American University in Washington, D.C., titled “The Compensations of Plunder: How China Lost Its Treasures” on Monday, Nov. 9, at noon.

From the 1790s until World War I, Western museums filled their shelves with art and antiquities from around the world. These objects are now widely seen as stolen or plundered from their countries of origin and demands for their return continue to grow louder.

Drawing on his new book, “The Compensations of Plunder,” Jacobs challenges the longstanding assumption that coercion, corruption and deceit were chiefly responsible for the exodus of cultural treasures from northwestern China. From a close analysis of previously neglected archival sources in English, French and Chinese, Jacobs finds that the removal of art and antiquities from China by Western archaeologists was generally undertaken with the full knowledge and consent of Chinese officials and scholars, who in exchange received various forms of capital or compensations deemed more valuable at the time than the objects in question.

Jacobs is a historian of China, Xinjiang, the Silk Road, antiquities and archaeology. He is the author of “The Compensations of Plunder: How China Lost Its Treasures,” “Indiana Jones in History,” and “Xinjiang and the Modern Chinese State.” He teaches courses on ancient and modern China, the Japanese empire, an introduction to Asia, and the history of archaeological expeditions. He also serves as editor of The Silk Road journal and hosts Beyond Huaxia, a podcast on East Asian history.

This event is free and open to the public. Register at The Compensations of Plunder registration page.

Jacob’s talk is being presented in collaboration with the Department of History’s Modern China Lecture Series.

For questions, contact RAFFMA at

The Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art, nationally accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, houses a collection that includes Egyptian antiquities, ceramics and contemporary art, and hosts 10-12 temporary exhibitions a year. Located at California State University, San Bernardino, RAFFMA presents one of the largest public displays of ancient Egyptian art in Southern California.

The museum offers a variety of opportunities providing valuable hands-on work experience and preparation for future museum-related careers for CSUSB students. RAFFMA is a great location for hosting corporate events, networking events, meetings, social gatherings and K-12 school field trips. During the temporary physical closure of RAFFMA due to the COVID-19 pandemic, guests are invited to participate in RAFFMA @ Home!

Visit the RAFFMA website for more information.