4-3&4-2014 Erika Doss

Presentation Archives

CIQR Talk 4-3-2014

Click here for the video (with slideshow included) and the powerpoint from the public talk.  Click here for the video and the powerpoint from the symposium.

Presenter: Dr. Erika Doss, Professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame

Dates: April 3-4, 2014

Bio: Dr. Erika Doss is professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches courses in American, modern, and contemporary art and cultural studies.

Public Talk Details:

Date: April 3, 2014 from 7:00-8:30pm

Location: Rockwell Hall, Lecture Hall 1, Duquesne University

Title: The Aesthetics of Victimization: Commemorating Loss, Violence, and Catastrophe in Contemporary Public Art

Abstract: Over the past few decades, thousands of newly dedicated memorials to the subjects of slavery, terrorism, war, massacres, school shootings, religious persecution, natural disasters, and disease, among others, have materialized in various national landscapes. These victim memorials represent part of a larger commemorative movement that art historian Erika Doss calls memorial mania: a preoccupation with issues of memory and history accompanied by urgent desires to express those concerns in public spaces and places. Examining recent commemorative projects in France, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, the United States, and elsewhere, this talk situates contemporary victim memorials in revisionist understandings of history, including ethical imperatives to remember those who have been forgotten or marginalized, a strong emphasis on linking the past with the present, the haunting specter of postcolonial victimization, and heightened expectations of emotionally engaged forms of public culture that may act as transformative sites of conscience.

Symposium Details:

Date: April 4, 2014 from 12-2pm

Location: Berger Gallery (College Hall 207), Duquesne University

Title: Vandalism, Removal, Re-Siting, Destruction: The Dilemma of Public Art's Permanence

Abstract: Public art is often equivocal, unresolved, and ambivalent. Its meaning is neither inherent nor eternal but processual: dependent on a variety of cultural and social relationships and subject to the volatile intangibles of multiple publics and their fluctuating interests and feelings. Consequently, public art that contradicts, violates, or condemns presentist concerns and beliefs may be defaced and despoiled. Some works may be removed, re-sited, dismantled, and/or destroyed. This symposium examines the dilemma of public art's permanence, particularly when it embodies values or supports beliefs no longer considered viable among various publics. Focusing on both historical and contemporary examples, it contextualizes how and why public art is sometimes vandalized and removed and provides a theoretical overview of the subject, asking: What are the ethical and political terms of public art's damage and destruction? Do such acts constitute public dissent? Is it legitimate to erase aberrant historical memories? What are the alternatives to the defacement and destruction of public art?

All interested faculty, graduate students, and other parties are invited. Refreshments will be served at the symposium.

For inquiries concerning CIQR, please contact the Center Coordinator, Fred Evans, Dept. of Philosophy, at evansf@duq.edu, 396-6507.

*The Center has been officially approved by the Dean of the College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, The Graduate Council of the College, and the Council of Deans for the University. It is based in the College but open to members of all the schools of the University. It includes interpretive and qualitative research in both the humanities and the social and behavioral sciences (including the practice of the latter in Nursing, Education, Occupational Therapy and other professional schools).