Monuments of the Past / Structures of the Present

September 24 @ 12:00-1:30pm (Zoom)

A Panel featuring Kelly Dennis, Kenneth Foote, Lewis Gordon, Micki McElya, and Cathy Schlund-Vials

By their nature, monuments collapse the conceptual divide between past and present. They are visual artworks, often of distant vintage, that construct particular sites of memory.  In so doing, the figures they marbleize manage to display, in the most quotidian realms, how the social structures of earlier eras continue to permeate everyday life in the here and now.

As a field, American Studies has long focused on the politics of historical memory.  To this end, UConn American Studies brings together scholars from a range of disciplinary perspectives whose work engages this issue, the relevance of which is clearer now than ever.  They will weigh in on the stakes of the ongoing battles over Confederate and colonial monuments, and address what new sites of memory – monumental or not – we should endeavor to create.

Kelly Dennis is an Art Historian, author of Art/Porn: A History of Seeing and Touching,  and is currently at work on a book on landscape photography and how it has shaped historical narratives of the Southwest.  Ken Foote is past president of American Association of Geographers and written widely on public memory and commemoration in the U.S. and Europe, including is award-winning Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy.  Lewis Gordon is a Philosopher who focuses on politics, morality, race, and decolonial thought; he is the author of What Fanon Said: A Philosophical Introduction to his Life and Thought.  Micki McElya is a historian who studies nostalgia and historical narratives of race and nation: her most recent book is The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.  Cathy Schlund-Vials, a Professor of English and Asian American Studies, has published extensively on memorialization, particularly as it pertains to U.S. militarism, refugee diaspora, and Asian/American racial formation.  She is the incoming President of the American Studies Association.

Sponsored by UConn American Studies