New Book | Teachable Monuments

Posted in books by Editor on August 13, 2022

This week (11–12 August) marked the fifth anniversary of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. This collection of essays appeared in hardback in 2021; it’s due to be released in paperback this fall from Bloomsbury:

Sierra Rooney, Jennifer Wingate, and Harriet Senie, eds., Teachable Monuments: Using Public Art to Spark Dialogue and Confront Controversy (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021), 296 pages, ISBN: 978-1501356940 (hardcover), $130 / ISBN: 979-8765100462 (paperback), $35.

Monuments around the world have become the focus of intense and sustained discussions, activism, vandalism, and removal. Since the convulsive events of 2015 and 2017, during which white supremacists committed violence in the shadow of Confederate symbols, and the 2020 nationwide protests against racism and police brutality, protesters and politicians in the United States have removed Confederate monuments, as well as monuments to historical figures like Christopher Columbus and Dr. J. Marion Sims, questioning their legitimacy as present-day heroes that their place in the public sphere reinforces. The essays included in this anthology offer guidelines and case studies tailored for students and teachers to demonstrate how monuments can be used to deepen civic and historical engagement and social dialogue. Essays analyze specific controversies throughout North America with various outcomes as well as examples of monuments that convey outdated or unwelcome value systems without prompting debate.

Sierra Rooney is Assistant Professor of Art History at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She is the author of numerous articles on public monuments and controversy.
Jennifer Wingate is Professor of Fine Arts at St. Francis College. She was co-editor of Public Art Dialogue (2017–2020) and is the author of Sculpting Doughboys: Memory Gender, and Taste in America’s Worlds War I Memorials (2013). She has published on representations of the domestic display of FDR portraits, WWI memorials, and public art.
Harriet F. Senie is Professor Emerita of Art History at the City College of New York and the Graduate Center, The City University of New York. She is the author of Memorials to Shattered Myths: Vietnam to 9/11 (2015), The ‘Tilted Arc’ Controversy: Dangerous Precedent? (2001), and Contemporary Public Sculpture: Tradition, Transformation, and Controversy (1992). She has edited several anthologies on different aspects of public art.


List of Illustrations
List of Contributors

Introduction: Why Monuments Matter — Sierra Rooney (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse) and Jennifer Wingate (St. Francis College)

Part I: Teaching Strategies
1  Developing Essential Questions for a Student-Driven 4th Grade Monument Study — Adelaide Wainwright (Oregon Episcopal School)
2  Encouraging Intervention: Project-Based Learning with Problematic Public Monuments — Mya Dosch (California State University-Sacramento)
3  Mapping Art on Campus — Annie Dell’Aria (Miami University)
4  Moving Beyond ‘Pale and Male’: A Museum Educator Approach to the Campus Portrait Debate — Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye (Yale Center for British Art)
5  ‘From Commemoration to Education’: Re-setting Context and Interpretation for a Confederate Memorial Statue on a University Campus — Sarah Sonner (Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas-Austin)
6  Making Material Histories: Institutional Memory and Polyvocal Interpretation — Kailani Polzak (University of California-Santa Cruz)

Part II: Political Strategies
7  Dismantling the Confederate Landscape: The Case for a New Context — Sarah Beetham (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts)
8  Learning from Louisville: John Breckenridge Castleman, His Statue, and a Public Sphere Revisited — Chris Reitz (University of Louisville)
9  Addressing Monumental Controversies in New York City Post Charlottesville — Harriet Senie (City University of New York)
10  The Preservation Dilemma: Confronting Two Controversial Monuments in the United States Capitol — Michele Cohen (Architect of the Capitol)
11  Up Against The Wall: Commemorating and Framing the Vietnam War on the National Mall — Jennifer K. Favorite (City University of New York)
12  ‘I feel like I have hated Lincoln for 110 years’: Debates over the Lincoln Statue in Richmond, Virginia — Evie Terrono (Randolph-Macon College)

Part III: Engagement Strategies
13  Paper Monuments as Public Pedagogy — Sue Mobley (Colloqate Design)
14  Charging Bull and Fearless Girl: A Dialogue — Charlene G. Garfinkle (Independent Scholar)
15  The Afterlife of E Pluribus Unum — Laura Holzman (Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis), Modupe Labode (National Museum of American History), and Elizabeth Kryder-Reid (Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis)
16  Unforeseen Controversy: Reconciliation and Re-contextualization of Wartime Atrocities through ‘Comfort Women’ Memorials in the United States — Jung-Sil Lee (George Washington University and Maryland Institute College of Art)
17  Free History Lessons: Contextualizing Confederate Monuments in North Carolina —  Matthew Champagne (North Carolina State University), Katie Schinabeck (North Carolina State University), and Sarah A. M. Soleim (North Carolina State University)
18  Future History: New Monumentality in Old Public Spaces, An interview with Artist Kenseth Armstead — Maria F. Carrascal (Artipica Creative Spaces, Spain)


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