• Credits: 3

This course examines the role that museums and monuments, as well as historic sites and other public places of commemoration, have in American culture. It will focus on how acts of memorialization produce collective memories, and the politics that surround how the past is remembered. At a moment when Americans debate whether monuments to slaveowners, Confederate generals, Christopher Columbus and other historic figures should remain standing, how public institutions can be made more inclusive to different groups and histories, and what roles museums should have in the twenty first century, so too will the course wrestle with these pressing contemporary concerns. In addition, we will also explore the complicated dynamics between education and entertainment; celebration and criticism; and vernacular and official forms of commemoration.

Spring 2022 Syllabus