Around the world, student activists are demanding that building and statutes commemorating historically figures whose legacies are now seen as morally dubious.


A new wave of international student activism has targeted names, mascots, statues and other symbols of historical figures at colleges and universities. Activists argue that the symbols should be removed as offensive reminders of hatred and violence. Many school officials acknowledge the historical complexities, but they argue that a better approach would be to teach students about the morally questionable acts of the past. Still others defend the symbols as harmless traditions.


Everyone who was been on a road trip with me knows I love monuments and statues.  As markers of memory, history, and place, monuments both reflect regional identity and are simultaneouly used to reshape how we think about communal identities.  Consequently, they can be hotly contested or be seen as a great unifying symbol.  This article has some great examples from the news about how identity and heritage are being recontructed with some controversial monuments. 

  • Jefferson Davis at UTexas
  • Brown U and Slave Trade
  • Harvard and ‘Veritas’
  • Amherst and its namesake
  • John Calhoun and Clemson/Yale
  • Cecil Rhodes at Oxford and Cape Town

Tags: historical, monuments, landscape.