Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Beginning with Toni Morrison's concept of "rememory" and the recent completion of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers on the University of Virginia campus, this essay explores the current monuments controversy. First touching on the incident in Gettysburg on July 4, 2020, when gun-toting visitors filled the Gettysburg National Military Park to protest what they believed would be a flag-burning incident, and a follow-up national activist history demonstration on September 26, 2020, I then focus on four Viennese monuments which have much to tell us about how new memorials can contextualize and reframe history. The first monument, a celebration of a series of fifteenth-century pogroms, was built into the wall of a house opposite the Judenplatz, a square in the center of what was once a thriving Jewish community in Austria. Four hundred years later, from 1998 to 2008, three additional memorials were built to further explain and atone for the pogroms. The article ends with a brief mention of a 1955 memorial in a cathedral in Lincoln, England which apologizes, seven hundred years later, for the atrocities that occurred in 1255 when Jews were accused of the ritual murder of a Christian boy. New monuments talk back to the old and bear witness to people’s changing awareness of the significance of past horrors.
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Berg, Temma F., "Our Monuments, Our History" (2020). English Faculty Publications. 93.