A CoLA-Verse Summer Discussion Series: "The Black Body and the State: A Complex Relationship in Monumental Form"

Presented by the College of Liberal Arts

“The Black Body and the State: A Complex Relationship in Monumental Form”

Led by TK Smith, American Civilization, University of Delaware, African American Public Humanities Initiative Scholar

Moderated by Dr. Rossen Ventzislavov, Department of Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts, Woodbury University

On Thursday, August 6th at 1:00 pm.


“The Black Lives Matter movement is an international effort, created out of a necessity to assert the radical belief that the lives of Black people matter. So, of what real value is a public monument to a Black person living in a nation where inanimate objects commemorating the institution of slavery have more legal protection than a child?” TK Smith’s “Towards a Monumental Black Body” originally appeared in ART PAPERS Spring 2020 and tackles the problems and potentials for the representations of Black people on the American landscape. Focusing on the concept of citizenship, Smith interrogates Confederate monuments and symbolisms within the built environment to reveal how monuments reflect social inequalities and structural racism.


“Towards a Monumental Black Body” by TK Smith: https://www.artpapers.org/toward-a-monumental-black-body/

Caroline Randall Williams, “You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument (NYT): https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/opinion/confederate-monuments-racism.html

Chris Stewart, “What If Your Entire School System Was the Racist Monument That Should Come Down?” (Education Post): https://educationpost.org/what-if-your-entire-school-system-was-the-racist-monument-that-should-come-down/?fbclid=IwAR1XfSXU6YETCoYTqjn9xQMH0RjWC9fNUtkQwAnGOgovTBx3m_CrFUlcB0M 

Roxane Gay, “How To Build a Monument” (WePresent): https://wepresent.wetransfer.com/story/roxane-gay-on-monuments/?fbclid=IwAR1bfeDOdXo3Weu2UoVtkUJaZELoAHE7IDLVq_LlPJau2N13EiJYVzY71zM

Interview with Hasan Jeffries (Vox): https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/it-s-white-supremacy-normalized-a-historian-on-why-stone-mountain-should-come-down/ar-BB175Xbi

  • What structures in your immediate American landscape have shaped your American identity?
  • Is there a monument that you have experienced that you felt honestly depicts Black people?
  • What is a monument(s) that you believe should exist or is missing in your community?
  • What are some of the personal ways you mourn, commemorate, and celebrate in your family or community?


Date: Thursday, August 6th, at 12:45 pm (please log in early to this event, so we can start on time at 1:00 pm)
Time: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://meetings.ringcentral.com/j/1480417203