The Sunday Edition

Monumental arguments about how to remember

Two proposed Canadian memorials have sparked monumental debates this year. Turns out we are not alone in squabbling over how we decide to honour the past.
A drawing of the winning Team Kapusta's concept for the National Memorial to Victims of Communism. (Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
Listen20:35

Two proposed Canadian memorials have sparked monumental debates this year. Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin ruled the massive Memorial to the Victims of Communism, slated to be built next to the Supreme Court in Ottawa, as being guilty of co​nveying "a sense of bleakness and brutalism inconsistent with a space dedicated to the administration of justice." Meanwhile, one newspaper editorial called the eight-storey-high Mother Canada statue planned for the Cape Breton shoreline, "hubristic, ugly and just plain wrong."
Statue of Mother Canada/Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (Source: CBC)
Turns out we are not alone in squabbling over how we decide to honour the past. In fact, disagreements are an important part of the process​​ according to James Young, one of the world's most respected experts on monuments and the Director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He joins Juliet Johnson​ and guest host Rachel Giese to discuss the politics of memory and memorial making. Professor Johnson teaches political science at McGill University​ and is co-founder of The Post-Communist Monuments Project.

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