Making commemorative constituencies: geographies of participation and responsibility in the decolonising of Thomas Picton in Wales and Trinidad and Tobago.

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Contributor(s) Organisations
Date

07 Dec 2022

Type(s) Invited talk

Description

This paper examines commemorative activism as an emerging political field and mode of civic engagement that exposes established mechanisms of law, local planning, and representative democracy as dysfunctional. Drawing on interviews and participant observation with activists, heritage bureaucracies and local planning authorities based in Wales and in Trinidad and Tobago, the paper explores how struggles to remove symbols of colonial violence from the public realm (a monument in Carmarthen, honorific statues, portraits and placenames in the UK, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia) reveal a broader re-writing of notions of truth, justice, democracy and historical responsibility. The paper extends concepts of ‘moral economy’ (Jackson 2009 after E.P Thompson 1971) and ‘geographies of responsibility’ (Massey 2004) to the making and policing of commemorative constituencies where government working groups, public surveys, national commemorative audits and historical review committees, define the scope and remit of legitimate participation in decisions about public memory.