Monumental Battles

Stephanie Yuhl – College of the Holy Cross

Statues toppled. Decapitated heads. Hands cut off. Graffiti slogans splashed on marble. Images like these have captured the headlines recently as activists from various causes have targeted historical monuments as a way to reckon with serious challenges of the imperfect present.  What is the place of monuments and memorials in an ever-changing, democratic society? Is “history being erased” through their removal? Is a new form of history being asserted? What values are driving these actions? Is there a common good in relation to commemoration? Focusing on specific case studies, we will explore together these and other questions academics consider when trying to detangle history from heritage recent monument controversies.