Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stone, Marble, Bronze: Monumentalizing History

Do monuments foster discussion or does the public treat them like a temple? If government allows a private group to place a monument on public space, is government then sanctioning the beliefs of that marker? Can government discriminate which private groups can place markers in public spaces? As a group, you rightly gleaned that Levinson is concerned with the question of how public monuments legitimize particular stories of history. He examines the conflicts that occur when interpretations of history changes but the monument stays fixed. He also demonstrates how the history of monuments relates to the history of power. This is particularly clear from the Liberty Monument in New Orleans, where the victors of racism during Reconstruction are no longer viewed as the heroes of that period. As Brent stated, is this change in interpretation an expression of political correctness or political awareness? I think you might all be interested in following the recent controversy in Utah to see what the Supreme Court determines is the answer.

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