Commemorating the Stonewall Uprising: Transnational and National Retrospectives on Movements and Monuments

AHA Session 18
World History Association 1
Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History 1
Friday, January 3, 2020: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Sutton Center (New York Hilton, Second Floor)
Kevin J. Mumford, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sylvea Hollis, National Park Service, Northeast Regional Office
Molly K. McGarry, University of California, Riverside
GVGK Tang, independent scholar

Session Abstract

This roundtable centers the creation of the Stonewall National Monument and examines the contemporary meaning(s) the site holds as a space for commemoration and scholarship. This conversation will address the Stonewall Uprising itself in juxtaposition with spaces of commemoration before and after the founding of the National Monument. Fifty years after the uprising, historians and the broader public continue to grapple with the meaning and significance of Stonewall. There remain considerable tensions over how the uprising started, who was there, and how we are to make meaning of its significance in this contemporary moment. Through commemorative spaces, these questions necessitate careful consideration of how identity politics—be they racial, class, gender, or ideological—intersect within both academia and the public sphere, and influence interpretation. Furthermore, these debates have been mediated through creative public history works like films, exhibitions, and other narrative projects beyond traditional manuscripts. What is the role of public scholars (particularly historians) in these debates? Of critical importance also remains the question: What is the legacy of the Stonewall Uprising and how has it shaped our (trans)national historical understanding of the LGBTQ+ movement? We will examine these and other questions through brief presentations that consider landscapes of the archive, including history, commemoration, memory, myth-making and erasure.
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