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Commemoration lies at the poetic, historiographic, and social heart of human community. It is how societies define themselves and is central to the institution of the city. Addressing the complex ways that monuments in the United States have been imagined, created, and perceived from the colonial period to the present, Commemoration in America is a wide-ranging volume that focuses on the role of remembrance and memorialization in American urban life. The volume's contributors are drawn from a spectrum of disciplines--social and urban history, urban planning, architecture, art history, preservation, and architectural history--and take a broad view of commemoration. In addition to the making of traditional monuments, the essays explore such commemorative acts as building preservation, biography, portraiture, ritual performance, street naming, and the planting of trees. Providing an overview of American memorialization and the impulses behind it, Commemoration in America emphasizes a universal tendency for individuals and groups to use monuments to define their contemporary social identity and to construct historical narratives. The volume shows that while commemorative acts and objects affect the community in fundamental ways, their meaning is always multivalent and conflicted, attesting to both triumphs and tragedies. Constituting a vital part of both individual and national identity, commemoration's contradictions strike at the core of American identity and speak to the importance of remembrance in the construction of our diverse national cultural landscape. Contributors: Jhennifer A. Amundson, Judson University * Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina State University Libraries * Thomas J. Campanella, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill * Glenn T. Eskew, Georgia State University * Glenn Forley, Parsons / The New School for Design * Sally Greene, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill * Alison K. Hoagland, Michigan Technological University * Lynne Horiuchi, University of California, Berkeley * Ellen M. Litwicki, SUNY Fredonia * David Lowenthal, University College London * Mark A. Peterson, University of California, Berkeley * Richard M. Sommer, University of Toronto * Dell Upton, University of California, Los Angeles
From Wounded Knee to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and from the Upper Big Branch mine disaster to the Trail of Tears, Marked, Unmarked, Remembered presents photographs of significant sites from US history, posing unsettling questions about the contested memory of traumatic episodes from the nation's past. Focusing especially on landscapes related to African American, Native American, and labor history, Marked, Unmarked, Remembered reveals new vistas of officially commemorated sites, sites that are neglected or obscured, and sites that serve as a gathering place for active rituals of organized memory. These powerful photographs by award-winning photojournalist Andrew Lichtenstein are interspersed with short essays by some of the leading historians of the United States. The book is introduced with substantive meditations on meaning and landscape by Alex Lichtenstein, editor of the American Historical Review, and Edward T. Linenthal, former editor of the Journal of American History. Individually, these images convey American history in new and sometimes startling ways. Taken as a whole, the volume amounts to a starkly visual reckoning with the challenges of commemorating a violent and conflictual history of subjugation and resistance that we forget at our peril.
In the past few decades, thousands of new memorials to executed witches, victims of terrorism, and dead astronauts, along with those that pay tribute to civil rights, organ donors, and the end of Communism have dotted the American landscape. Equally ubiquitous, though until now less the subject of serious inquiry, are temporary memorials: spontaneous offerings of flowers and candles that materialize at sites of tragic and traumatic death. In Memorial Mania, Erika Doss argues that these memorials underscore our obsession with issues of memory and history, and the urgent desire to express--and claim--those issues in visibly public contexts. Doss shows how this desire to memorialize the past disposes itself to individual anniversaries and personal grievances, to stories of tragedy and trauma, and to the social and political agendas of diverse numbers of Americans. By offering a framework for understanding these sites, Doss engages the larger issues behind our culture of commemoration. Driven by heated struggles over identity and the politics of representation, Memorial Mania is a testament to the fevered pitch of public feelings in America today.
Memorials are more diverse in design and subject matter than ever before. No longer limited to statues of heroes placed high on pedestals, contemporary memorials engage visitors in new, often surprising ways, contributing to the liveliness of public space. In Memorials as Spaces of EngagementQuentin Stevens and Karen A. Franck explore how changes in memorial design and use have helped forge closer, richer relationships between commemorative sites and their visitors. The authors combine first hand analysis of key examples with material drawn from existing scholarship. Examples from the US, Canada, Australia and Europe include official, formally designed memorials and informal ones, those created by the public without official sanction. Memorials as Spaces of Engagementdiscusses important issues for the design, management and planning of memorials and public space in general. The book is organized around three topics: how the physical design of memorial objects and spaces has evolved since the 19th century; how people experience and understand memorials through the activities of commemorating, occupying and interpreting; and the issues memorials raise for management and planning. Memorials as Spaces of Engagementwill be of interest to architects, landscape architects and artists; historians of art, architecture and culture; urban sociologists and geographers; planners, policymakers and memorial sponsors; and all those concerned with the design and use of public space.
Rhetorics Haunting the National Mall: Displaced and Ephemeral Public Memories vividly illustrates that a nation's history is more complicated than the simple binary of remembered/forgotten. Some parts of history, while not formally recognized within a commemorative landscape, haunt those landscapes by virtue of their ephemeral or displaced presence. Rather than being discretely contained within a formal sites, these memories remain public by lingering along the edges and within the crevices of commemorative landscapes. By integrating theories of haunting, place, and public memory, this collection demonstrates that the National Mall, often referred to as "the nation's front yard," might better be understood as "the nation's attic" because it hides those issues we do not want to address but cannot dismiss. The neatly ordered installations and landscaping of the National Mall, if one looks and listens closely, reveal the messiness of US history. From the ephemeral memories of protests on the Mall to the displaced but persistent presences of inequality, each chapter in this book examines the ways in which contemporary public life in the US is haunted by incomplete efforts to close the book on the past.
An original study of monuments to the civil rights movement and African American history that have been erected in the U.S. South over the past three decades, this powerful work explores how commemorative structures have been used to assert the presence of black Americans in contemporary Southern society. The author cogently argues that these public memorials, ranging from the famous to the obscure, have emerged from, and speak directly to, the region's complex racial politics since monument builders have had to contend with widely varied interpretations of the African American past as well as a continuing presence of white supremacist attitudes and monuments.
Twentieth Anniversary Edition with a new preface and afterword From the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans in the spring of 2017 to the violent aftermath of the white nationalist march on the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville later that summer, debates and conflicts over the memorialization of Confederate "heroes" have stormed to the forefront of popular American political and cultural discourse. In Written in Stone Sanford Levinson considers the tangled responses to controversial monuments and commemorations while examining how those with political power configure public spaces in ways that shape public memory and politics. Paying particular attention to the American South, though drawing examples as well from elsewhere in the United States and throughout the world, Levinson shows how the social and legal arguments regarding the display, construction, modification, and destruction of public monuments mark the seemingly endless confrontation over the symbolism attached to public space. This twentieth anniversary edition of Written in Stone includes a new preface and an extensive afterword that takes account of recent events in cities, schools and universities, and public spaces throughout the United States and elsewhere. Twenty years on, Levinson's work is more timely and relevant than ever.