Memory Over Forgetting: Monuments, Memorials and Intangible Heritage
Issue number 152 (May 2025)
Abstract Deadline: August 1, 2023
Co-Edited by Bonita Bennett, Bonny Ibhawoh, Alex Lichtenstein, and Daniel Walkowitz
From the removal of Cecil Rhodes from the University of Cape Town, to the toppling of Confederate monuments across the American South, to the dumping of Edward Colston into Bristol harbor, we have recently witnessed profound challenges to the embodiment of national mythmaking in public memorials. Additionally, tearing down old markers of historical memory has been accompanied by the erection of new ones. Globally, popular and grassroots initiatives have rethought statuary, memorials, museum exhibits, historical sites, commemorative practices, and other forms of collective memory-work.
We invite article proposals for a Radical History Review issue on monuments, memorials, and counter-memory that consider these efforts to transform public markers of memory. We are especially interested in submissions that query how sites negotiate troubled histories (genocide, racism, colonialism, occupation) in troubled times (Eastern Europe today, confederate monuments in the US South, Tiananmen Square protest monuments in Hong Kong). We welcome contributions that focus on grassroots memory-work by Indigenous communities, people of color, LGBTQ activists, or working-class mobilizations.
Potential contributions might include:
Tearing down: submissions exploring social movements and popular mobilizations focused on removing or modifying memorial culture that glorifies white supremacy, genocide, colonialism, ethnic nationalism, etc. These include decommemoration or dememorialization movements that seek to undo existing memorial cultures and mitigate the harms they inflict, including seeking reparations.
Putting up: submissions that examine movements to create popular forms of counter-memorials or intangible heritage, impromptu, vernacular, or official, in unmarked spaces of “forgotten” events, cultural forms, or historical figures, or to replace older monuments with new ones.
Outside-In: submissions that consider efforts to remove memorials and monuments from the immediate public sphere and relegate them instead to museums, displays, and formal exhibits.
Inside-Out: submissions that consider efforts to bring into public view privately held, archived, or otherwise hidden or disguised forms of memorials or heritage. Submissions might consider some of the following questions:
- Why were public markers of memory first erected? What did they symbolize then, and what have they come to symbolize now? Who gets to decide their meaning, their appropriateness, and their disposition?
- How does nationalism inform new public forms of monumental culture? What form of popular “counter-memorials” can be erected next to rejected monuments or in their stead? What role can popular modification of memorials—“vandalism”—play in this process?
- How does rethinking memorial culture and memorial landscapes relate to “truth and reconciliation”? What role have historians and museum curators had in informing these discussions and decisions? How do such debates spring from, inform, or mobilize movements for social and racial justice, decolonization, and reparations?
RHR publishes material in a variety of forms including Historians at Work; Teaching Radical History; Public History; Interviews; and (Re)Views. The co-editors of this issue invite scholars, activists/organizers, and movement collectives to submit in various forms. This can include interviews, roundtables, photographic essays, curated arts contributions, syllabi and other pedagogical material, reviews, pedagogies, and reflections. We welcome submissions that use images as well as text (but please note that the journal has no funds for image reproductions and permissions). Procedures for submission of articles:
By August 1, 2023, please submit a 1-2 page abstract summarizing the article you wish to submit as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Issue 152 Abstract Submission” in the subject line. Please send any images as low-resolution digital files embedded in a Word document along with the text. If chosen for publication, you will need to send high-resolution image files and secure permission to reprint all images.
By September 15, 2023, authors will be notified whether they should submit a full version of their article for peer review. The due date for completed articles will be January 15, 2024. Those articles selected for publication after the peer review process will be included in issue 152 of the Radical History Review, scheduled to appear in May, 2025.
Abstract Deadline: August 1, 2023
Image Caption: “Young Lincoln” (Charles Keck, 1945) in Thanksgiving Day in Native American protest, November 24, 2022. From Wikimedia Commons