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My project works with the philosophical concepts of history, memory, and narrative to approach monuments. I seek to show how monuments can be understood within the framework of Pierre Nora’s lieux de mémoire—constructions that function to keep alive the past by protecting against the erasure of history. In drawing this comparison, I aim to reveal how tragedies demand the construction of a narrative and that monuments, as sites of memory (lieux de memoire), articulate this narrative. It is the very impossibility of a linear, historical narrative, which induces a collective memory-fiction; collective myth making is substituted in the place of history. These narratives that we find articulated by monuments—often of survival, overcoming, and patriotism—are not, however, fixed or permanent; rather they are, and must necessarily be, constantly re-written. Monuments, therefore, do not petrify or close thinking about tragic events but rather leave open and call for future interpretations of the past by the nation-state.
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Miranda, Dana Francisco, "The Nation-State as Historian: A Philosophical Reading of Monumentalization" (2014). Senior Projects Spring 2014. 144.
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