In the last couple of years, popular debates about colonialist representations in the public space – through monuments and street names, for instance – have gained momentum, especially in connection with the toppling of monuments in various cities around the world depicting leading colonial actors involved in the enslavement trade and in the oppression of people in the formerly colonized countries.

In this seminar, we will critically discuss popular debates (drawing from different media outlets) and academic discourses (based on theoretical texts) that address some of the histories, concepts, and practices of dealing with colonial legacies as represented in and performed with monuments, architectures and street names.

We will read theoretical texts from cultural studies, postcolonial studies and memory studies, as well as sound and sensory studies to study the social, cultural and sensory dimensions of memory and knowledge making.

The seminar will also engage with different artistic and activist interventions into colonialist representations in the urban space, for instance through campaigns (Oxford, UK), decolonial walks (Berlin), audio guides (Potsdam) and decolonial public sculptures (Copenhagen).

There will also be space for exploring some practice-based methods of engaging with monuments through sound walks and field recordings.