A program of their landmark exhibition Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South, the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, SC is holding a symposium, Public Memory in the New South, on January 11 and 12. 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 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.
Public Memory in the New South is concerned with 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 who 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, educators, and activists who are challenging taken-for-granted memorialization of one vision for Southern history, synonymous with the region itself for many.
This symposium advocates for more complex readings of the region to be central to public memory and 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.
Public Memory in the New South takes place over Friday, January 11 and Saturday, January 12, 2019 at the College of Charleston campus in Charleston, SC. For full event details, visit halsey.cofc.edu.
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