Monumental Narratives: Revisiting New England’s Public Memorials
A one-day symposium sponsored by the Grace Slack McNeil Program for Studies in American Art at Wellesley College and Historic Deerfield, Inc.
Date: Saturday, March 10th, 2018
Location: Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
As southern Civil War memorials have become a flashpoint for politics and protest, it is vital that we turn the same critical gaze to New England’s public monuments. This day-long symposium will explore commemorations of people, places, and events in New England's past, with attention to design, construction, naming/renaming, reception, preservation, destruction, and/or reconfiguration. How do these public acts of memory tell a particular story of New England? What histories might they celebrate or, whether explicitly or implicitly, conceal, devalue, or erase? How can historians recast these monumental narratives without simultaneously sweeping aside uncomfortable histories of colonialism and discrimination?
We invite papers that critically examine memorials in New England from the 17th century to the present. We look for explorations of a diverse range of media including (but not limited to) sculpture, mural programs, buildings, and landscapes. Discussions of proposals for contemporary commemoration or for interventions in existing monuments should explicitly address the ways in which these activities fit into a broader historical context.
Papers should be theoretical or analytical in nature rather than descriptive and take approximately 20 minutes to present. Speakers invited to present papers are expected to participate fully in the symposium program. The symposium offers speakers overnight accommodation.
Please submit 250-word proposals and a two-page c.v. via electronic mail to Martha McNamara firstname.lastname@example.org and Barbara Mathews email@example.com. Proposals should include the title of the paper and the presenter’s name.