Anthropology Magazine

As the Statues Fall: A Conversation About Monuments and the Power of Memory

In the wake of global civil unrest following the brutal killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Atatiana Jefferson, Aura Rosser, Elijah McClain, and countless others at the hands of police in the United States, Black Lives Matter protestors and their allies have critiqued the anti-Black racism imbued in the erection and maintenance of Confederate historical monuments. The legacy of social movements seeking to remove Confederate statues is long-standing. However, unlike in previous movements, what began as the forced removal of Confederate statues during protests has rippled to the removal of colonialist, imperialist, and enslaver monuments all over the world. In this webinar, scholars and artists share their insights on the power of monumentality and the work they are doing to reconfigure historical markers.


La Vaughn Belle, Visual Artist
Nicholas Galanin, Tlingit/Unangax Multi-disciplinary Artist
Dell Upton, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Art History, UCLA
Tsione Wolde-Michael, Curator, Smithsonian-NMAH


Tiffany Cain, Ph.D., Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in the Princeton Society of Fellows for the Liberal Arts


CART captioning provided by Joshua Edwards.

Read on:

What Can and Can’t Be Said: Race, Uplift, and Monument Building in the Contemporary South by Dell Upton

The Monuments That Won’t Fall” by La Vaughn Belle

Lowering the Gaze: The Acropodium in I Am Queen Maryby La Vaughn Belle


The Society of Black Archaeologists, the Indigenous Archaeology Collective, the Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and SAPIENS.

Webinar Series:

From the Margins to the Mainstream: Black and Indigenous Futures in Archaeology