HIST 1033

Monumental Changes&Cult. Wars

Monumental Changes in the Culture Wars
An exploration of how monuments and honorifics to controversial figures in American History have (and have not) changed over time, and especially since 2015. After examining historical theory and the philosophy of memory, we will investigate how politics, protests, and culture have shaped the commemorative possibilities of the past and present. We will proceed through a case study of the course and consequences of The Naming Commission, on which the instructor served as Lead Historian. Created by Congress to investigate and end Confederate commemoration across all Department of Defense assets, for two years the Naming Commission confronted and changed controversial monuments throughout the nation. Students complete the course by researching, writing and presenting on a controversial monument of their choosing.

Connor Williams (Middlebury Class of 2008.5) is a historian of United States History and African American Studies. In 2021 and 2022, he was honored to serve the United States Congress as Lead Historian to its Naming Commission, researching the context, consequences, and causes of all Confederate commemorations in the Department of Defense and making plans for their modification or removal. His book on his experiences working for the Naming Commission: A Promise Delivered: The Naming Commission, Nine Army Bases, and Ten True American Heroes is under contract with Macmillan (St. Martin’s Press imprint) and scheduled to be published in the summer of 2024./
Requirements Fulfilled:

Sections in Winter 2024