Marian Miner Cook
Athenaeum

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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Wednesday, October 07, 2020 - Evening Program
Monumental Debates: Academic Perspectives on Global Movements to Topple Historical Monuments
Ana Lucia Araujo, Daniela Blei, and Cynthia Culver Prescott, panelists

This summer, protesters throughout the United States and around the globe demanded the removal of statues memorializing historical figures such as Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Experts who study the meaning behind memorials offer a discussion on why people took to the streets to argue for or against the preservation of certain historical monuments. Drawing from research on the public memory of the Atlantic slave trade, Pioneer Mother monuments, and Nazi monuments after WWII, panelists Ana Lucia Araujo, professor of history at Howard University, Cynthia Culver Prescott, associate professor of history at the University of North Dakota, and writer and editor Daniela Blei provide an engaged discussion of present battles over the past. 

Ana Lucia Araujo is a full professor of history at the historically black Howard University in Washington D.C. She has authored seven books, including “Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020), “Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), “Brazil Through French Eyes: A Nineteenth-Century Artist in the Tropics” (University of New Mexico Press, 2015), “Shadows of the Slave Past: Heritage, Memory, and Slavery” (Routledge, 2014), and “Public Memory of Slavery: Victims and Perpetrators in the South Atlantic” (Cambria Press, 2010). She has also edited or coedited five books and published dozens of refereed articles in journals and chapters in edited books on topics related to the history and memory of slavery. In 2017, she joined the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project. She also serves on the board of editors of the American Historical Review (the journal of the American Historical Association) and the editorial board of the British journal Slavery and Abolition. In addition, she is a member of the executive board of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide Diaspora (ASWAD), the editorial review board of the African Studies Review, and the board of the blog Black Perspectives maintained by the African American Intellectual History Society. 

Cynthia Culver Prescott, associate professor of history at the University of North Dakota, is a historian of gender in the American West and the author of "Pioneer Mother Monuments: Constructing Cultural Memory" (University of Oklahoma Press, 2019), which won the 2020 Gita Chaudhuri Prize. She is also building a companion website for this book, Pioneer Monuments in the American West, that features interactive maps and timelines, and provides images and information about the 200 monuments included in her study. 

Daniela Blei is a writer and editor based in San Francisco. She is a frequent contributor to The Atlantic Monthly, The Smithsonian Magazine, and New York Magazine among other magazines and newspapers. Blei holds a Ph.D. in German history from Stanford University. Her recent research on Nazi and Communist Monuments in post-World War II Berlin has appeared in both German and English-language publications.

Sarah Sarzynski and Tamara Venit-Shelton, professors of history at Claremont McKenna College will moderate the panel.

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