This Class Will Be Two Zoom Sessions:
Thursday, July 23 & 30 -- 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Join Dr. John Ashbaugh, Adjunct Professor of History at Allan Hancock College and President of the History Center of SLO County, as we return to the “hot topic” of historic monuments and their place in our rapidly-evolving 21st Century society.
Throughout our history, Americans (and all nations) have chosen to remember our proudest moments and most inspiring men and women by establishing monuments that honor some shared interpretation of “history.” What happens when that interpretation is no longer shared – when the monuments become the vehicle to shape a new understanding of history?
Clearly, our willingness to honor certain individuals and causes has changed, as monuments and statues are falling all over the nation. The removal of Confederate monuments has taken on special urgency in the wake of the George Floyd murder; statues of colonizers and slave-owners have been attacked and removed in dozens of cities throughout the world in recent weeks. The President is engaged in an agitated counterattack in defense of monuments and Confederate symbols, even seeking to defend the “Stars and Bars” battle flag that NASCAR had banned. Trump also has ordered that the nation establish a new “National Garden of Heroes” to include statues of dozens of American heroes, specifically to include Antonin Scalia and Ronald Reagan, as well as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Betsy Ross.
This course will follow up on the first 2019 “Monumental Mistakes” course and bring us up to date on where we stand now. We’ll see where the battle lines are drawn in the darkening shadows of our nation’s troubled and divisive politics. We’ll examine both sides of our bitter national debate over the nature and value of historic monuments. We’ll see how this is far more than a simple debate about “American greatness:” It extends to the very question of our IDENTITY as Americans – of what we choose to remember as our proudest moments, the heroes who inspire us today. In this course, we will strive to achieve a new understanding of our history that embraces the contributions of minorities, of women, of immigrants and of Native Americans.
John Ashbaugh holds a doctorate from U.C. Santa Barbara, and teaches History at Hancock College in Santa Maria. In 1984, he founded the SLO County Land Conservancy, and has served on the San Luis Obispo Planning Commission and City Council. He is currently President of the History Center of San Luis Obispo. Ashbaugh is promoting a privately-funded monument in SLO to celebrate the Central Coast environmental movement and the 1903 appearance here by Theodore Roosevelt.
Join this course on July 23 & 30