Dr. Stephen Heathorn will present “Commemorative Controversies: British Memorials in the Aftermath of the Great War, 1918-1939” on Nov. 5, 2018, at 7 p.m. in IRC 5.
Recent controversies over the purpose and meaning of Confederate memorials in the United States follow in a well-established tradition of people arguing over which commemorative objects ought to be found in the public square and for whom and what are they supposed to be meaningful. This talk will track some of the most heated controversies over commemorative monuments in the first two decades after the First World War in Britain: a period during which over 30,000 statues and monuments were raised – a number that dwarfs all previous periods of British history. Concentrating on London, it places this commemorative activity and the contestation it aroused in the longer context of British monument erection, details the debates about a handful of particularly contentious memorials, and advances an argument about why certain monuments attracted particularly hostile scrutiny and why some other schemes failed to be executed at all.
Stephen Heathorn is Professor and Chair of the Department of History at McMaster University (Canada), specializing in British and European cultural history. He is the author of For Home, Country and Race: Constructing Gender, Class and Englishness in the Elementary School Classroom, 1880-1914(University of Toronto Press, 2000), Haig and Kitchener in Twentieth Century Britain: Remembrance, Representation and Appropriation (Ashgate, 2013), and numerous other books and articles. He is the editor of Volume 18 of The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell.
Sponsored by the College Senate Committee on Public Events, SUNY Oneonta Alumni Association with Financial Support from the Fund for Oneonta, Redfield Lecture Series, and Departments of Anthropology and History.