Advance tickets sales have ended but plenty of additional tickets remain available at the door.
Profs and Pints DC presents: “Monumental Controversies,” with Fred Bohrer, professor of art and archaeology at Hood College, art historian, and author the website Monumental Anxiety: An Anti-Guide to the Monuments of Washington, D.C.
Even more than most cities, Washington, DC is filled with monuments and commemorative spaces, which generally serve mainly as a sort of backdrop of urban life. In the past few years, though, many public monuments in Washington and elsewhere have faced new scrutiny, criticism, and even direct attack.
Chief among such controversies is the current battle over Confederate monuments, which can be found in every corner of the nation. In fact, Washington itself has had a public, outdoor monument to a confederate general and KKK sympathizer—Albert Pike—disguising him as a poet and philosopher. But many other controversies also play out around monuments. Washington has several that bring up—sometimes mainly through their attempts at avoiding—questions of sexual orientation, disability, ideology, social class, and much more.
What is at stake in the new battle over monuments? How and why do monuments today have the power to inspire such vehement passions among both defenders and detractors? And just why are there so many monuments in the first place?
This talk is for anyone who has wondered about the prominent place of monuments in cities and towns, the nature of historical memory, and how things such as race, gender, sexuality, and cultural identity are inscribed in America’s public landscape. Along with tackling questions that have been raised about some monuments, it also will a larger historical perspective on the varieties of monuments and their development. It also will equip audience members with fundamental tools for understanding and analyzing monuments. We’ll look in detail at many nearby objects, both famous and obscure, as well as other monuments throughout the country.
Professor Bohrer has for more than two decades written books and articles examining how tangible objects—paintings, photographs, sculptures, ancient artifacts, museum displays and more—both represent and obscure public histories. You’ll walk out of his talk equipped to be a more astute tour guide for anyone who visits you this spring. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, save $2 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in. Bring proof of vaccination and a mask, as both may be required in response to local infection rates. The Bier Baron will be requiring event attendees to purchase a minimum of two items, which can be food or beverages, including soft drinks.)
Image: An 1853 Clark Mills sculpture of Andrew Jackson in Washington DC’s Lafayette Park. (Photo by Cliff / Wikimedia Commons.)