Why is there a national monument near a small town on the Minnesota prairie? Why do the town’s residents dress as Indians each summer and perform a historical pageant based on a Victorian-era poem? To answer such questions, Building on a Borrowed Past: Place and Identity in Pipestone, Minnesota shows what happens when one culture absorbs the heritage of another for civic advantage.
Founded in 1874, Pipestone was named for the quarries where regional tribes excavated soft stone for making pipes. George Catlin and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow described the place and its tribal history. Promotion by white residents of the quarries as central to America’s Indian heritage helped Pipestone obtain a federal Indian boarding school in the 1890s and a national monument in the 1930s. The annual “Song of Hiawatha” pageant attracted tourists after World War II. Sally J. Southwick’s prizewinning study demonstrates how average, small–town citizens contributed to the generic image of “the Indian” in American culture.
Examining oral histories, memoirs, newspapers, federal documents, civic group records, and promotional literature, Southwick focuses on the role of middle–class individuals in establishing a historical, place–based identity. Building on a Borrowed Past reveals how identities are formed through adaptation of cultural, spiritual, racial, and historical symbols.
Collecting Mexico centers on the ways in which aesthetics and commercialism intersected in officially sanctioned public collections and displays in late nineteenth-century Mexico. Shelley E. Garrigan approaches questions of origin, citizenry, membership, and difference by reconstructing the lineage of institutionally collected objects around which a modern Mexican identity was negotiated. In doing so, she arrives at a deeper understanding of the ways in which displayed objects become linked with nationalistic meaning and why they exert such persuasive force.
Spanning the Porfiriato period from 1867 to 1910, Collecting Mexico illuminates the creation and institutionalization of a Mexican cultural inheritance. Employing a wide range of examples—including the erection of public monuments, the culture of fine arts, and the representation of Mexico at the Paris World’s Fair of 1889—Garrigan pursues two strands of thought that weave together in surprising ways: national heritage as a transcendental value and patrimony as potential commercial interest.
Collecting Mexico shows that the patterns of institutional collecting reveal how Mexican public collections engendered social meaning. Using extensive archival materials, Garrigan’s close readings of the processes of collection building offer a new vantage point for viewing larger issues of identity, social position, and cultural/capital exchange.
Prisoners at Mittelbau-Dora built the V-1 and V-2 missiles, some of them coming into direct contact with Wernher von Braun and Arthur Rudolph, who later became leading engineers in the U.S. space program. Through the continuing story of Mittelbau-Dora, from its operation as a labor camp to its social construction as a monument, Schafft and Zeidler reflect an abiding interest in the memory and commemoration of notorious national events. In extending the analysis of Mittelbau-Dora into post-war and present-day Germany, Commemorating Hell uncovers the intricate relationship between the politics of memory and broader state and global politics, revealing insights about the camp's relationship to the American space pioneers and the fate of the nearby city of Nordhausen.
The twentieth century was the most destructive in human history, but from its vast landscapes of ruins was born a new architectural type: the cultural monument. In the wake of World War I, an international movement arose which aimed to protect architectural monuments in large numbers, and regardless of style, hoping not only to keep them safe from future conflicts, but also to make them worthy of protection from more quotidian forms of destruction. This movement was motivated by hopeful idealism as much as by a pragmatic belief in bureaucracy. An evolving group—including architects, intellectuals, art historians, archaeologists, curators, and lawyers—grew out of the new diplomacy of the League of Nations. During and after World War II, it became affiliated with the Allied Military Government, and was eventually absorbed by the UN as UNESCO. By the 1970s, this organization had begun granting World Heritage status to a global register of significant sites—from buildings to bridges, shrines to city centers, ruins to colossi.
Examining key episodes in the history of this preservation effort—including projects for the Parthenon, for the Cathedral of St-Lô, the temples of Abu Simbel, and the Bamyian Buddahs —Lucia Allais demonstrates how the group deployed the notion of culture to shape architectural sites, and how architecture in turn shaped the very idea of global culture. More than the story of an emergent canon, Designs of Destruction emphasizes how the technical project of ensuring various buildings’ longevity jolted preservation into establishing a transnational set of codes, values, practices. Yet as entire nations’ monumental geographies became part of survival plans, Allais also shows, this paradoxically helped integrate technologies of destruction—from bombs to bulldozers—into cultural governance. Thus Designs of Destruction not only offers a fascinating narrative of cultural diplomacy, based on extensive archival findings; it also contributes an important new chapter in the intellectual history of modernity by showing the manifold ways architectural form is charged with concretizing abstract ideas and ideals, even in its destruction.
Empty Plinths: Monuments, Memorials, and Public Sculpture in Mexico responds to the unfolding political debate around one of the most contentious public monuments in North America, Mexico City’s monument of Christopher Columbus on Avenida Paseo de la Reforma. In convening a diverse collective of voices around the question of the monument’s future, editors José Esparza Chong Cuy and Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa probe the unstable narratives behind a selection of monuments, memorials, and public sculptures in Mexico City, and propose a new charter that informs future public art commissions in Mexico and beyond. At a moment when many such structures have become highly visible sites of protest throughout the world, this new compilation of essays, interviews, artistic contributions, and public policy proposals reveals and reframes the histories embedded within contested public spaces in Mexico.Empty Plinths is published alongside a series of artist commissions organized together with several major cultural institutions in Mexico City, including the Museo Tamayo, the Museo de Arte Moderno, and the Museo Experimental el Eco.
This detailed interpretive guide explains the forces that created Utah's unforgettable scenery, while providing road logs of highways and major backroads through the Grand Staircase of the Colorado Plateau.
Where in Utah can you find a fossilized ant hill that is at least fifty million years old? Do you know the location of an ancient beach that disappeared along with the dinosaurs that strolled it? Find out in The Geology of the Parks, Monuments, and Wildlands of Southern Utah.
This fascinating and authoritative guide belongs on the dashboard or in the backpack of every visitor to southern Utah or student of its natural history. More than sixty illustrations and nearly three dozen photographs accompany clear explanations of the spectacular geologic features of this landscape, including Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks, as well as the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument.
Section I of the volume surveys chronologically the origins of the formations and structural features and the geologic processes that have shaped the Colorado Plateau. Section II provides road logs with mile-by-mile geologic descriptions of key sections of highway traversing this area.
This detailed interpretive guide turns any windshield into a window of opportunity for understanding the forces that created Utah’s unforgettable scenery—whether it be a breathtaking panorama or a dazzling array of fins and fractures, pillars and pedestals, or cliffs and chasms.
History after Apartheid explores the dilemmas posed by a wide range of visual and material culture including key South African heritage sites. How prominent should Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress be in the museum at the infamous political prison on Robben Island? How should the postapartheid government deal with the Voortrekker Monument mythologizing the Boer Trek of 1838? Coombes highlights the contradictory investment in these sites among competing constituencies and the tensions involved in the rush to produce new histories for the “new” South Africa.
She reveals how artists and museum officials struggled to adequately represent painful and difficult histories ignored or disavowed under apartheid, including slavery, homelessness, and the attempted destruction of KhoiSan hunter-gatherers. Describing how contemporary South African artists address historical memory and the ambiguities uncovered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Coombes illuminates a body of work dedicated to the struggle to simultaneously remember the past and move forward into the future.
The ruling elite in ancient Rome sought to eradicate even the memory of their deceased opponents through a process now known as damnatio memoriae. These formal and traditional practices included removing the person's name and image from public monuments and inscriptions, making it illegal to speak of him, and forbidding funeral observances and mourning. Paradoxically, however, while these practices dishonored the person's memory, they did not destroy it. Indeed, a later turn of events could restore the offender not only to public favor but also to re-inclusion in the public record.
This book examines the process of purge and rehabilitation of memory in the person of Virius Nicomachus Flavianus(?-394). Charles Hedrick describes how Flavian was condemned for participating in the rebellion against the Christian emperor Theodosius the Great—and then restored to the public record a generation later as members of the newly Christianized senatorial class sought to reconcile their pagan past and Christian present. By selectively remembering and forgetting the actions of Flavian, Hedrick asserts, the Roman elite honored their ancestors while participating in profound social, cultural, and religious change.
In Maya Political Science: Time, Astronomy, and the Cosmos, Prudence M. Rice proposed a new model of Maya political organization in which geopolitical seats of power rotated according to a 256-year calendar cycle known as the May. This fundamental connection between timekeeping and Maya political organization sparked Rice's interest in the origins of the two major calendars used by the ancient lowland Maya, one 260 days long, and the other having 365 days. In Maya Calendar Origins, she presents a provocative new thesis about the origins and development of the calendrical system.
Integrating data from anthropology, archaeology, art history, astronomy, ethnohistory, myth, and linguistics, Rice argues that the Maya calendars developed about a millennium earlier than commonly thought, around 1200 BC, as an outgrowth of observations of the natural phenomena that scheduled the movements of late Archaic hunter-gatherer-collectors throughout what became Mesoamerica. She asserts that an understanding of the cycles of weather and celestial movements became the basis of power for early rulers, who could thereby claim "control" over supernatural cosmic forces. Rice shows how time became materialized—transformed into status objects such as monuments that encoded calendrical or temporal concerns—as well as politicized, becoming the foundation for societal order, political legitimization, and wealth. Rice's research also sheds new light on the origins of the Popol Vuh, which, Rice believes, encodes the history of the development of the Mesoamerican calendars. She also explores the connections between the Maya and early Olmec and Izapan cultures in the Isthmian region, who shared with the Maya the cosmovision and ideology incorporated into the calendrical systems.
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.
This collection expands the scope of what is considered public history by pointing to silences and absences that are as telling as museums and memorials. Contributors remind us that for every monument that is erected, others—including one celebrating Sri Lanka’s independence and another honoring the Unknown Russian Soldier of World War II—remain on the drawing board. While some sites seem woefully underserved by a lack of public memorials—as do post–Pinochet Chile and post–civil war El Salvador—others run the risk of diluting meaning through overexposure, as may be happening with Israel’s Masada. Essayists examine public history as it is conveyed not only in marble and stone but also through cityscapes and performances such as popular songs and parades.
ContributorsJames CarterJohn CzaplickaKanishka GoonewardenaLisa Maya KnauerAnna KrylovaTeresa MeadeBill NassonMary NolanCynthia PacesAndrew RossDaniel SeltzT. M. ScruggsIrina Carlota SilberDaniel J. WalkowitzYael Zerubavel
What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia? That was the question posed by the curators, artists, scholars, and students who comprise the Philadelphia-based public art and history studio Monument Lab. And in 2017, along with Mural Arts Philadelphia, they produced and organized a groundbreaking, city-wide exhibition of temporary, site-specific works that engaged directly with the community. The installations, by a cohort of diverse artists considering issues of identity, appeared in iconic public squares and neighborhood parks with research and learning labs and prototype monuments.
Monument Lab is a fabulous compendium of the exhibition and a critical reflection of the proceedings, including contributions from interlocutors and collaborators. The exhibition and this handbook were designed to generate new ways of thinking about monuments and public art as well as to find new, critical perspectives to reflect on the monuments we have inherited and to imagine those we have yet to build. Monument Lab energizes acivic dialogue about place and history as forces for a deeper questioning of what it means to be Philadelphian in a time of renewal and continuing struggle.
Contributors: Alexander Alberro, Alliyah Allen, Laurie Allen, Andrew Friedman, Justin Geller, Kristen Giannantonio, Jane Golden, Aviva Kapust, Fariah Khan, Homay King, Stephanie Mach, Trapeta B. Mayson, Nathaniel Popkin, Ursula Rucker, Jodi Throckmorton, Salamishah Tillet, Jennifer Harford Vargas, Naomi Waltham-Smith, Bethany Wiggin, Mariam I. Williams, Leslie Willis-Lowry, and the editors.
Artists: Tania Bruguera, Mel Chin, Kara Crombie, Tyree Guyton, Hans Haacke, David Hartt, Sharon Hayes, King Britt and Joshua Mays, Klip Collective, Duane Linklater, Emeka Ogboh, Karyn Olivier, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Kaitlin Pomerantz, RAIR, Alexander Rosenberg, Jamel Shabazz, Hank Willis Thomas, Shira Walinsky and Southeast by Southeast, and Marisa Williamson.
Drawing on theories of power, subjectivity, and space, Kavuri-Bauer’s interdisciplinary analysis encompasses Urdu poetry, British landscape painting, imperial archaeological surveys, Indian Muslim identity, and British tourism, as well as postcolonial nation building, World Heritage designations, and conservation mandates. Since Independence, the state has attempted to construct a narrative of Mughal monuments as symbols of a unified, secular nation. Yet modern-day sectarian violence at these sites continues to suggest that India’s Mughal monuments remain the transformative spaces—of social ordering, identity formation, and national reinvention—that they have been for centuries.
This volume considers the significance of stone monuments in Preclassic Mesoamerica, focusing on the period following the precocious appearance of monumental sculpture at the Olmec site of San Lorenzo and preceding the rise of the Classic polities in the Maya region and Central Mexico.By quite literally “placing” sculptures in their cultural, historical, social, political, religious, and cognitive contexts, the seventeen contributors utilize archaeological and art historical methods to understand the origins, growth, and spread of civilization in Middle America. They present abundant new data and new ways of thinking about sculpture and society in Preclassic Mesoamerica, and call into question the traditional dividing line between Preclassic and Classic cultures. They offer not only a fruitful way of rethinking the beginnings of civilization in Mesoamerica, but provide a series of detailed discussions concerning how these beginnings were dynamically visualized through sculptural programming during the Preclassic period.
New Jersey boasts more than 700 public sculptures. When viewed as a group, these works give us great insights about who helped to shape New Jersey, what events we considered significant, and how we hope we will be remembered. Public Sculpture in New Jersey examines 150 years of past and current patterns in the commissioning and placement of outdoor art in the Garden State.
The book contains essays that profile the state’s 100 most significant works as well as the artists who created them, and features nearly 100 magnificent photographs that document these works, capturing the effects of time and the environment on each sculpture. Bzdak and Petersen selected these works for the variety of stories they tell and for their range of artistic expression, from traditional to contemporary, rather than focusing only on the best known or most visible works of public sculpture. By telling the stories behind the sculptures, the book captures New Jersey’s history, especially history that may not be well known but that conveys significant information about how our predecessors lived and the official images they sought to leave behind.
In 1852, President Louis Napoleon of France declared that August 15--Napoleon Bonaparte's birthday--would be celebrated as France's national day. Leading up to the creation of the Second Empire, this was the first in a series of attempts to "Bonapartize" his regime and strengthen its popular legitimacy. Across France, public institutions sought to draw local citizens together to celebrate civic ideals of unity, order, and patriotism. But the new sense of French togetherness was fraught with tensions.Drawing on a wealth of archival evidence, Sudhir Hazareesingh vividly reconstructs the symbolic richness and political complexity of the Saint-Napoleon festivities in a work that opens up broader questions about the nature of the French state, unity and lines of fracture in society, changing boundaries between public and private spheres, and the role of myth and memory in constructing nationhood. The state's Bonapartist identity was at times vigorously contested by local social, political, and religious groups. In various regions, people used the national day to celebrate their own communities and to honor their hometown veterans; but elsewhere, the revival of republican sentiment clashed sharply with imperial attitudes.Sophisticated and gracefully written, this book offers rich insights into modern French history and culture.
In Written in Stone, legal scholar Sanford Levinson considers the tangled responses of ever-changing societies to the monuments and commemorations created by past regimes or outmoded cultural and political systems. Drawing on examples from Albania to Zimbabwe, from Moscow to Managua, and paying particular attention to examples throughout the American South, Levinson looks at social and legal arguments regarding the display, construction, modification, and destruction of public monuments. He asks what kinds of claims the past has on the present, particularly if the present is defined in dramatic opposition to its past values. In addition, he addresses the possibilities for responding to the use and abuse of public spaces and explores how a culture might memorialize its historical figures and events in ways that are beneficial to all its members.
Written in Stone is a meditation on how national cultures have been or may yet be defined through the deployment of public monuments. It adds a thoughtful and crucial voice into debates surrounding historical accuracy and representation, and will be welcomed by the many readers concerned with such issues.
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