with Andy Shanken and Michael J. Lewis
Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 7:00 PM on Zoom
Free – Registration required at

Memorials are commonly studied as part of the commemorative infrastructure of modern society. Just as often, they are understood as sites of political contestation, where people battle over the meaning of events. But most of the time, they are neither. Instead, they take their rest as ordinary objects, part of the street furniture of urban life. Most memorials are ‘turned on’ only on special days, such as Memorial Day, or at heated moments, as in August 2017, when the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville was overtaken by a political maelstrom. The rest of the time they are turned off. This book is about the everyday life of memorials. It explores their relationship to the pulses of daily life, their meaning within this quotidian context, and their place within the development of modern cities.

Andrew Shanken is Professor of Architectural History and the Director of American Studies at U.C. Berkeley. He publishes on the topic of architecture and memory, the history of preservation, keywords in architecture, and the visual culture of architecture and planning. His book, 194X: Architecture, Planning, and Consumer Culture on the American Homefront (2009), examines anticipatory architecture on the American homefront. A second book, Into the Void Pacific (2015), is an architectural history of the 1939 San Francisco World’s Fair. His new book, The Everyday Life of Memorials (Zone Books, 2022), explores the meaning of memorials in daily life and their place within the development of modern cities.

Michael J. Lewis id the Faison-Pierson-Stoddard Professor of Art History at Williams Collegewhere heteaches modern architecture and American art.  He is also the architecture critic for the Wall Street Journal. After receiving his B.A. from Haverford College in 1980, and two years at the University of Hannover Germany, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1989. He has taught at Bryn Mawr College; McGill University, Montreal; and the University of Natal, South Africa. His books include Frank Furness: Architecture and the Violent Mind (2001), American Art and Architecture (2006), and the prize-winning August Reichensperger: The Politics of the German Gothic Revival (1993). He was a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton (2000-2001) and in 2008 received a Guggenheim Fellowship to support the completion of City of Refuge (2016), his study of millennial Utopias. Lewis has been at Williams College since 1993 and in 2008 he was named Faison-Pierson-Stoddard Professor of Art.

Book link:

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