Plenary: The Confederacy, Its Symbols, and the Politics of Public Culture

Thursday, January 7, 2016: 8:30 PM-10:00 PM
Grand Ballroom D (Hilton Atlanta, Second Floor)
David W. Blight, Yale University
Daina Ramey Berry, University of Texas at Austin
W. Fitzhugh Brundage, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jane Turner Censer, George Mason University
John Coski, American Civil War Museum
Historians of the American South and of memory and commemoration will discuss the meaning, use, and implications of Confederate symbolism: monuments (including Stone Mountain), flag, etc. How did this iconography evolve, and why do these symbols remain cultural and political flashpoints? How does a conversation about this continuing conflict lead to a consideration of the relationship between celebration, commemoration, memory, heritage, and history? What can and cannot be accomplished by removal/relocation. We have an unusual situation here: history explicitly front and center as the focus of a significant public controversy. As historians we bring to this conversation not only expertise on the specifics of each situation, but also knowledge of similar past controversies, and the insights of historical thinking itself.
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