Associate professor Tanja Schult, Department of Culture and Aestethics.

During the spring 2021, Tanja Schult is on a sabbatical semester at the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften to conduct the research project "Making Monuments Matter in 21st Century Democracies".

Read more about Schult's research

About the session

Growing confrontation with colonial and patriarchal heritage has made questions of who and what is represented in public space in 21st century democracies ever more urgent. However, recent debates have largely ignored that a fundamental shift in monument making has taken place over the past four decades – a shift that contributed to a radical renewal of the monument genre, its themes, designs and functions. Also, the adoption of new, digital technologies has significantly broadened what is now perceived as both ‘public’ and ‘monument’. Today, monuments no longer hold on to former genre-specifics such as permanence, visibility and traditional notions of ‘monumentality’. Instead, “performative monuments” (Mechthild Widrich) have become the new norm. These monuments invite new behaviour by giving audiences more active roles, aligning with broader expectations on citizens in democracy, namely to be active agents shaping cultural memory.

During this lunch talk Tanja Schult will provide some thoughts based on conducted and planned research on monuments’ roles and functions in democracies, and ask how ‘democratic monuments’ look, what they are about, and what kind of relationships they establish in public space.

Read more about the session and join on April 22nd