In a pair of public programs this week and next, UC Davis faculty and visiting faculty will discuss the effect of Civil War statues and civil rights memorials on public policy, community relations and history. This week’s program will take place in Sacramento, the other will be on campus — both are at night and both are free.
“Memorials and Monuments: Lessons from Charlottesville, New Orleans and Port Chicago — Reflecting on recent incidents and how nations memorialize the past. 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 18), Sierra 2 Center’s 24th Street Theatre, 2791 24th St., Sacramento. Please RSVP.
- Gregory Downs, professor, Department of History, a leading historian of the Civil War who spearheaded the effort to create a national monument devoted to Reconstruction and emancipation.
- Javier Arbona, assistant professor, American Studies and Department of Design, who is completing a project on memorial landscapes, black resistance and World War II in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Moderator: Jaimey Fisher, professor, German, and Department of Cinema and Digital Media, and director, UC Davis Humanities Institute. He has written about Germany’s relationship to its difficult past.
This is the first program in a new public series, The Conversation, presented by the UC Davis Humanities Institute. For The Conversation, the DHI will invite faculty members and other public intellectuals to consider current issues of the day. The Conversation will feature an open format, including short remarks by each participant, and plenty of time for questions from the audience, and discussion.
“Confederate Monuments, Civil Rights Memorials and Civic Values” — In the UC Davis Human Rights Lecture Series. 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. With Dell Upton, chair of UCLA’s art history department, and Ari Kelman, associate dean and history professor at UC Davis.
“My talk will address the complex ways that conflicting values — of inclusive citizenship (the Civil Rights Movement) and of the celebration of a white supremacist movement (the Confederacy and its aftermath) — play out in public spaces, particularly, but not only in the South,” said Upton, a preeminent thinker on the role of race, monuments and memorials. “In the debates over these monuments, competing claims about history and heritage as well as confusion over the status of monuments as commemorations of the past or as historic artifacts themselves, serve to illuminate the strains in the contemporary American body politic.”
Upton is the author of the 2015 book What Can and Can’t Be Said, a study of civil rights and African American history monuments in the South. He wrote “Confederate Monuments and Civic Values in the Wake of Charlottesville” for the Society of Architectural Historians blog in September.
Jeffrey Day and Karen Nikos-Rose contributed to this report. Day is a content strategist in the College of Letters and Science, and Nikos-Rose is a senior public information representative in the Office of Strategic Communications.