Why do public monuments play such an important role in memory wars?

  • Connor Deegan

Abstract

In this paper I explore the role played by public monuments in the narration of national stories. I examine several monuments that have been built to promote various national narratives, with a particular focus on the South Australian National War Memorial, located in Adelaide, Australia. My analysis reveals that monuments have a dynamic capacity to embody simplified narratives of the past, and to shape collective memory accordingly. I contend that, owing to this capacity, monuments play a significant role in the narration of national stories. I also consider the power of monuments to serve vehicles for the promulgation of dissenting narrative strands. I ultimately argue that the prevalence of such strands reveals that many “memory wars” can never definitively be won—that is, that it is impossible to achieve homogeneity in history.
Published
2018-01-11
How to Cite
Deegan, C. (2018). Why do public monuments play such an important role in memory wars?. Constellations, 9(1), 20-33. Retrieved from https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/constellations/index.php/constellations/article/view/29343