Confederates and Colonial Commemoration in the United States: Collective Memory and Counter-histories

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines Confederate monuments in the United States (US) relating to histories of colonialism and racial retrenchment in America. It explores how monuments dedicated to the seditious South paid tribute to Confederate soldiers to rewrite history and mask colonisation of Black and Indigenous peoples. By reinscribing history, monuments undermine what Toni Morrison (‘I wanted to carve out a world both culture specific and race-free’: An essay by Toni Morrison. The Guardian, 2019, para. 5) calls “rememory”-resurrecting trauma and hope so that the past never goes away. Confederate monuments impair remembrances to entrap Black and Indigenous peoples through narratives of slavery and conquest, but by highlighting memories that might be shaped for reparations, anti-racist analyses afford activists new options for emancipation and liberation. Currently, colonial settler states and racial regimes rule imaginations and constrain our actions-binding our subjugation by enshrining mythic pasts that are detached from reality. Rather than reckoning with racial subordination, seditious Confederate monuments produce rationales for colonising non-whites up to the present. Summer 2020‘s protests provided new analyses for freedom from colonial imaginations, while contesting white-domination. Protests against Confederate and US flags now create solidarity across racial, ethnic and national boundaries while encouraging a new dialogue. Utilising racial-colonial analyses, I will address the historical moment and revive transformative ‘rememory’ to bring down monuments today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook on Rethinking Colonial Commemorations
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783031286094
ISBN (Print)9783031286087
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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