WHY MONUMENTS? A DISCUSSION ON THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE LIVES OF PUBLIC STATUES
Wednesday 8 July 2020 at 11:30, Via Zoom
Organised with Gabriele Marcon (HEC)
The Black Lives Matter’s protests have recently re-launched the debate on the removal of monuments embodying a burdensome past. This wave of dissent has also reached Europe, where civil rights’ movements have targeted monumental symbols of controversial colonial heritages in many countries. In the midst of these events, we would like to propose an academic discussion on this thorny issue. While the general debate has been largely polarised around the question “should these monuments be torn down?” our discussion does not seek to answer this question. Rather, it aims to bring together historians whose research interests can help us to reflect on how controversial monuments have been handled in the past, the layers of the past they enshrine, and the continuous emotional investment to which they are subjected. The discussion moreover seeks to question how the removal or the manipulation of these controversial monuments and their sites alters their materiality and visuality. As a first step of a broader, hopefully longer and fruitful discussion, HEC researchers Daphné Budasz, Julie Deschepper, and Iseabail Rowe will offer three, different insights that will allow us to consider how historians’ input can contribute to the current debate.