If these stones could speak: War memorials and contested memory

Kerby, Martin ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4073-2559 and Baguley, Margaret ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0098-6378 and Bedford, Alison ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6708-9896 and Gehrmann, Richard (2021) If these stones could speak: War memorials and contested memory. Historical Encounters, 8 (1). pp. 1-12.

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Abstract

This article explores how war memorials engage with the contested nature of public sculpture and commemoration across historical, political, aesthetic and social contexts. It opens with an analysis of the Australian commemorative landscape and the proliferation of Great War Memorials constructed after 1918 and their ‘war imagining’ that positioned it as a national coming of age. The impact of foundational memorial design is explored through a number of memorials and monuments which have used traditional symbolism synonymous with the conservative ideological and aesthetic framework adopted during the inter-war years. The authors then analyse international developments over the same period, including Great War memorials in Europe, to determine the extent of their impact on Australian memorial and monument design. This analysis is juxtaposed with contemporary memorial design which gradually echoed increasing disillusionment with war and the adoption of abstract designs which moved away from a didactic presentation of information to memorials and monuments which encouraged the viewer’s interpretation. The increase of anti- or counter-war memorials is then examined in the context of voices which were often excluded in mainstream historical documentation and engage with the concept of absence. The selection of memorials also provides an important contribution in relation to the ideological and aesthetic contribution of war memorials and monuments and the extent of their relevance in contemporary society.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Copyright retained by Author/s. Distributed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Mar 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2022 08:28
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2022 08:32
Uncontrolled Keywords: aesthetics, historical commemoration, counter-memorials, history, memorials and monuments, memorial and monument design
Fields of Research (2008): 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210307 European History (excl. British, Classical Greek and Roman)
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Fields of Research (2020): 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430302 Australian history
43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430313 History of empires, imperialism and colonialism
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950205 Visual Communication
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1302 Communication > 130205 Visual communication
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.52289/hej8.301
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/46220

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