HAA 279V - Monuments





Sarah Lewis, Joseph Koerner

This graduate seminar is designed to consider: Why have monuments, particularly in the United States, become such points of controversy in recent years? What does the fixation on monuments in this historic moment have to teach us specifically about justice and racialized life in American democracy? What is it about the form and ground of a monument that offers it such symbolic value in societal life? This course will tackle these as live questions offering readings and case studies that set a foundation for the development of the practice of monument making, or monument breaking, while also considering the active debates taking place about the future of monuments today.

This course will have three components (1)  instruction and discussion; (2) guest visits from architects and artists, including Michael Murphy (co-designer of the Equal Justice Initiative memorial, co-founder of MASS Design), Hank Willis Thomas (artists and co-designer of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial set for Boston Common), and William Kentridge (creator of “Triumphs and Laments” mural, Rome); student presentations. The assignments, meant to honor and be responsive to the constraints set upon us by the pandemic, will be rigorous but able to be completed from home and without the need for travel. All course materials will be accessible online.