Contested Histories in Public Places: Principles, Processes, Best Practices

Tracy Ireland, Claire Smith

Research output: Book/ReportReports


In June 2020, then United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order
‘protecting American monuments, memorials, and statues’, and threatening ‘vandals’,
‘rioters’ and ‘left wing radicals’ with imprisonment. A few weeks earlier, United Kingdom
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had issued a similar threat: ‘I will not support or indulge those who break the law’, he said, following attacks on statues across the country; ‘[i]f you want to change the urban landscape, you can stand for election or vote for someone who will’. French President Emmanuel Macron also addressed his nation about its public monuments: ‘[t]he republic will unbolt no statue’, he said in a televised address; France would ‘not erase any trace or any name from its history’. Since the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 25 May 2020, and the increased activism of the Black Lives Matter movement, statues and monuments have become centrepieces of mass protests. They have been spray-painted, torched, decapitated, toppled and, in several cases, thrown into harbours or lakes.

...The following volume consists of the ten case studies, along with an introductory chapter, as well as a concluding chapter that outlines proposed principles, processes and guidelines for best practices. While we acknowledge that the complex nature of many of these disputes almost certainly necessitates further deliberation, we believe that the cases presented provide frameworks for ongoing discussion and debate, and hope they offer insights that may help to shape responses that are both effective and responsible within existing social, political and legal frameworks
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherInternational Bar Association
Commissioning bodyInternational Bar Association
Number of pages294
ISBN (Print)9780948711008
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2021


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