What I mean by historians doing historian things reflects a conversation I had with my students this week wherein they articulated different approaches to history they’re seeing between my museum studies class and their graduate seminar in American history. Students noticed that the point of the academic book is to foreground an interpretive point—the thesis—and… More Historians doing historian things on Confederate monuments is not enough
Yesterday I unexpectedly received a job offer and this morning I accepted. You may or may not hear about it here. The immediate upshot for this space is that everything I’m currently working on has to come to a dead stop as I transition to new tasks. That’s too bad. I had wanted to continue… More Summary thoughts on Confederate monuments as I move on from this
The present consensus that Confederate monuments need radical re-interpretation—if not removal—makes for a righteous and satisfying call, but stops short of engaging the very real complicated histories, contexts, and bureaucratic politics of actual examples of the form. Keith Harris is doing his work, and I look forward to the progress he makes in Hollywood. Haven’t… More How would you interpret this Confederate monument?
Keith Harris steps into the weeds on monuments here, noting how utterly impractical it might be to untangle racist intent from the broader memorial landscape, and pointing to the useful interpretive value of preserving this intent in situ. To leave Confederate monuments in place—with updated interpretation—appears to be the post-Charleston consensus opinion among the right-thinking… More Privilege and the historicizing of monuments
In my last post I passed along some high-concept (for small Civil War sites) programming suggestions for ways to create dialog at museums and historic sites surrounding Civil War memory and the Confederate flag. All of those ideas require time, money, and planning, and are rather, anyhow, out of the ordinary for most sites. But what… More Working provocation into existing interpretation
A Department of Cultural Resources official responded to my letter posted below. I wrote back. I have not heard anything since. I took the response as boilerplate, probably sent out to a dozen cranks like me. It indicated that DCR energy on the issue of Confederate historical memory is being channeled into the monumental landscape (.pdf)… More Where is #museumsrespondtoCharleston?
Below is a copy of a letter I sent to Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz and Deputy Secretary Kevin Cherry. This version includes links. See below for a disclaimer that I did not include. I am not privy to the most recent conversations within DCR regarding this issue, so I’d be glad for correction… More Letter to the Department of Cultural Resources on the Confederate flag