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Rebecca Schneider


Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance


This thesis explores performances of public protest at Confederate monuments. The unveiling of a monument suggests its shared meaning with spectators. Civil War Confederates were memorialized for their sacrifice, as they fought to preserve a Southern way of life that included systems of slavery. White supremacists and alt-right groups recently have gathered across the country to protest what they see as the erosion of traditional Southern culture with monuments as the backdrop for their protests. However, this meaning is being challenged by acts of public protest. These monuments, cast initially as representing white sacrifice, are now seen to promote white supremacism and African American subordination. I examine the significant role that white women have occupied in the erection and celebration of these monuments, and the role Black women have played in their protest. I explore the performative rituals that represent a shift from African American subordination to African American mourning. Using the notion of “visuality,” I analyze the aesthetics of the Confederate monuments and the protests against them. By bridging a historical context with contemporary social discourse, it is my intention that this reassessment suggests an interdisciplinary exhibition that resonates with the motifs and themes researched in this thesis.

Available for download on Monday, June 01, 2020



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