Sarah Beetham

Assistant Professor Department of Liberal Arts Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts sbeetham@udel.edu Office: (732) 310-1275

Bio/Research

My research examines the intersections between aesthetic value, political implications, and monumental destruction in memorials to the Civil War citizen soldier. Previous scholarship on these monuments has focused on their origin and development in the divisive postwar decades. And indeed, for mu...

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Bio/Research

My research examines the intersections between aesthetic value, political implications, and monumental destruction in memorials to the Civil War citizen soldier. Previous scholarship on these monuments has focused on their origin and development in the divisive postwar decades. And indeed, for much of their history, these monuments have been an accepted and often unquestioned part of the urban fabric. But as recent debates over Confederate monuments have shown, the relatively static presence of these monuments has often masked deep-seated divisions that come to light at moments when the monument’s material fabric is ruptured. When monuments are vandalized, destroyed accidentally, weathered by neglect, removed, or revised through deliberate additions to the initial work of art, they force communities to come to terms with the reasons for their existence and to decide whether to recommit to the initial causes they were meant to remember. My book will probe moments in the 150-year history of the Civil War citizen soldier monument when individual monuments have faced physical change, offering new insight into the role of memorials in national conversations and the nature of public memory itself.

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