Confederate monuments: How should America preserve and remember its history?2018-08-09
August 12 marks one year since a deadly march in Charlottesville, Virginia, when white nationalists showed up to protest the city's plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general. And one year later, the debates across America, particularly the South, continue about what should be done with Civil War-era monuments in town squares, public parks and other areas of high visibility.
Most of the monuments were put in place decades after the end of the Civil War when whites in the South were reclaiming their dominant position socially and economically. So it’s not surprising that Confederate monuments are politically loaded. They were from the beginning, but the society in which the monuments find themselves has changed.
What should be done with these monuments? Are they worthy of preservation? Should they be on display in a museum or discarded and forgotten? The pendulum is swinging very hard both ways on what to do, and that’s where the experts from the University of Mary Washington can help.
Jason James, associate professor of sociology and anthropology, is a scholar of cultural memory who teaches a unique course called Practices of Memory, which focuses on the ways societies remember and forget the past through monuments and memorials, museums, film, and other media. This includes the debates over Confederate monuments and the commemoration of slavery.
Jason is available to speak with media regarding this topic. Simply click on his icon to arrange an interview.