Memories, Myths, and Monuments: Confronting National Narratives
This virtual conversation will bring together historians, philosophers, and public intellectuals from both the United States and Germany to reflect on how countries can reckon with racist histories of colonialism, slavery, and white supremacy within their own national narratives, and how these manifest in public spaces. The ongoing efforts to remove Confederate monuments and symbols in the U.S. and to rename streets and remove monuments that commemorate a brutal colonial legacy in Germany demonstrate the important role these symbols play in promoting manipulated historical narratives that omit or gloss over the continued oppression of BIPOC and inadvertently reproduce existing power-structures.
The panel will address which symbols from our past must be de- or re-contextualized, and which ought to be removed. How might we go about building a historical awareness in the public sphere that takes into account historical omissions, distortions, simplifications, and parallel narratives that benefit hegemonic narratives? How do we move forward in these efforts?