Over recent months and years, as white Southerners’ hold over Southern history and memory is called into question, landscapes in the South are experiencing profound change. Monuments to the region’s charged past continue to be contested and removed from statehouse grounds, college campuses and the heart of the region’s downtowns. Meanwhile, galvanizing new markers speak to places and memories long forgotten by many, notably in Montgomery’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice and Charleston’s planned International African American Museum.
The Southbound symposium on Public Memory in the New South is concerned with what we remember and forget, and how we choose to frame our recollections to arrive at a collective sense of who we are in today’s South. It brings together exhibiting artists whose photographic projects document sites of memory ranging from the almost invisible to the forgotten, the ephemeral, the performed, and the, sometimes, hidden in plain sight. It also features scholars, curators, and activists who are challenging taken for granted memorialization of one vision for southern history, synonymous with the region itself for many here and further afield. Public Memory in the New South advocates for more complex readings of the region to be central to public memory here.
The symposium’s purpose is to arrive at new understandings of how our collective memories ultimately reflect and inform how we experience this place and to take stock of ways in which our sense of ourselves is changing in the New South.
The Public Memory in the New South symposium kicks off on Friday evening with a keynote lecture by Southbound photographer Sheila Pree Bright. The symposium continues on Saturday with sessions from 10AM-4PM. Public Memory in the New South ends with a keynote address by Michael Arad, the NYC-based designer of the 9/11 Memorial and Charleston’s forthcoming Mother Emanuel AME Memorial.
Friday, January 11
7:00 PM | Sottile Theatre, College of Charleston Sheila Pree Bright, keynote address | #UNAPOLOGETIC
Saturday, January 12
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM | Simons Center for the Arts, Recital Hall
Dr. Adam H. Domby | What Were They Supposed to Mean: Confederate Monuments in the Eyes of their Builders | 10:00 AM
Dr. Thomas Brown | Civil War Monuments and Photography | 10:30 AM
Jeanine Michna-Bales | Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad | 11:00 AM
Jessica Ingram | Visualizing Violence in the American South in Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial | 11:30 AM
Dr. Thavolia Glymph | Posing/Posed for the Camera: The Right to Look Back in Possession of One’s Self | 2:00 PM
Anderson Scott | The Selective Memory of the South | 2:30 PM
Eliot Dudik | Memory, Beauty, and Humor as Unifying Forces | 3:00 PM
Brenda Tindal | K(NO)W Justice K(NO)W Peace: Reckoning & the Making of a Rapid Response Exhibit in a New South City | 3:30 PM
Michael Arad, keynote address | Memory in the Public Realm: making the past present | 7:00 PM