Heritage Resources Management (HERM) 334

Professional Ethics in Heritage Resources Management (Revision 1)

PHIL 334

Revision 1 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: HERM 334 is a cross-listed course—a course listed under two different disciplines—PHIL 334. PHIL 334 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for PHIL 334.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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Heritage Resource Management 334: Professional Ethics in Heritage Resources Management examines the ways that ethical issues and moral theories shape heritage practice as well as critical methods for analyzing and evaluating a variety of positions on these issues. These issues and theories are approached through an understanding of moral reasoning as well as the various principles in ethics that have been accepted as framing heritage practice. It also deals with formal ethical guidelines and less formal rules that govern practice. Through this course students will gain an understanding of the reasons and imperatives for ethical behavior in professional life, and the unique ethical dilemmas that heritage practitioners face in regards to collection, preservation, representation and exhibition. This course is divided into two parts. Part I, “An Introduction to Professional Ethics in Heritage Resources Management” presents conceptual and foundational issues, while Part II, “Ethical Issues in Heritage Resources Management” discusses ethical issues that are specifically raised in heritage resources practice. Although it is unlikely that all moral and ethical dilemmas can be resolved, it is the intent of this course to offer both the structural background in traditional and modern philosophies of ethics and morals, and a variety of approaches to some key questions or problems.

HERM 334 is a required course in the Heritage Resources Management program, but welcomes all students.


Part I: An Introduction to Professional Ethics in Heritage Resources Management

  • Unit 1: What is a Profession?
  • Unit 2: Heritage Resources Management and Ethical Codes
  • Unit 3: Moral and Ethical Principles for Heritage Resources Management: Foundations of Ethical Practice
  • Unit 4: Institutional versus Personal Ethics: Policies, Procedures, and Virtue Ethics
  • Unit 5: Legal, Cultural, and Ethical Responsibility: Cultural and Intellectual Property

Part II: Ethical Issues in Heritage Resources Management

  • Unit 6: Standards of Ethics in Conservation and Heritage Management
  • Unit 7: Cultural Relativism: Appropriation, Human Remains, and Indigenous “Others”
  • Unit 8: Feminist Ethics and Heritage Resources Management
  • Unit 9: Censorship and Heritage Ethics
  • Unit 10: Conflict of Interest, Looting, and Repatriation
  • Unit 11: Stewardship, Heritage Discourse, and Justice


To receive credit in HERM 334 you must complete all of the assignments and write the final examination and achieve a minimum composite course grade of “D” (50 percent). The chart below summarized course activities and the credit weight associated with each assignment.

Assignment 1: Critical Essay Assignment 2: Case Study Final Examination Total
30% 35% 35% 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

Other Materials

Heritage Resources Management 334: Professional Ethics in Heritage Resources Management—Reading File. Athabasca, AB: Athabasca University, 2009.

Heritage Resources Management 334: Professional Ethics in Heritage Resources Management—Study Guide. Athabasca, AB: Athabasca University, 2009.

Heritage Resources Management 334: Professional Ethics in Heritage Resources Management—Course Information Manual. Athabasca, AB: Athabasca University, 2009.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, June 23, 2014.