Monumentality, Memoryscapes, and the Politics of Place
Public debates and controversies over monuments, memorials, and place names have become contentious focal points for struggles over historical memory and social identity. This special issue critically examines the spatial politics involved in the making, unmaking, and remaking of memoryscapes conceived as assemblages of memory-objects, practices, and imaginaries that relationally constitute memory/spaces. The contributions consider how particular conceptions of the past are interwoven into the memoryscapes of the present in an attempt to legitimize a given social and political order. At the same time, they demonstrate how places of memory are often highly contested spaces in which the authority of the ruling power, and its hegemonic narratives of history, may be called into question. In this introductory article, we highlight key themes at the intersections of memory, place, and power, and consider several areas of emerging interest that have potential to advance critical geographical approaches to memory studies. Reflecting on the case studies discussed in this special issue, we also explore how the spatial, temporal, and political intertwine in the production of memoryscapes that may appear fixed and frozen for all time – especially when literally cast in stone – but often experience change in both subtle and profound ways.
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