Special Issue Title: Memorial Landscapes and Contestation: Destabilising Artefacts of Stability

Dear Colleagues,

Landscape Research, the internationally refereed journal of the Landscape Research Group, is calling for submissions for a special issue addressing the contestation of memorials and/or memorial landscapes.

The special issue proceeds from the assertion that landscapes are not neutral nor benign. Rather they are spaces upon which socio-political agendas are inscribed and through which they are communicated. Winchester et al. (2003 p.97) eloquently captured this observing that landscapes ‘…are simultaneously a medium and outcome of power’. However, and equally importantly, the landscape also offers opportunity for resistance and protest.

Memorials and statues of historic figures are arguably ubiquitous within the human landscape. The process of memorialization embodies the operation of power, which Osborne (1998, p.423) observes strives to legitimise authority over some form of silenced other. As physical artefacts memorials and statues represent what Miles (1997, p.67) refers to as ‘…architecture as persuasion through inevitability’. This inevitability is built through local assemblages of nationalism, gender and sexuality politics, and class relationships. It remains stable because of authoritative and aesthetic weight, intertextual repetition and the affective and emotional economies in which they circulate. However, time and changing perceptions/values work to destabilise both knowledge and symbols. Thus, decreasing global tolerance for racism and the legacy of colonialism has led to reconsideration of both the narratives and mnemonic products that support them. In short, the role of the memorial landscape specifically and public space generally become a focus for contemporary protest. Monuments erected to stabilise narratives of, for example, colonial virtue and progress are now re-read as symbols of oppression and racism. As such, they become the sites of ideational and, sometime, violent contestation.

The special issue of Landscape Research serves to critically engage with contemporary processes of political activism and protest that are evident in many countries, with an emphasis upon the use of landscape as both a platform for and a vehicle of struggle and contestation. 

Memorial landscapes and specific monuments have become the locus for and target of socio-political protest. These are characterised, for example, by the defacing of colonial monuments in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, calls to remove confederate statues in the United States and the destruction of statues such as Bristol’s Edward Colston. These acts represent highlight the power imbalances inherent within the landscape and the importance of ongoing resistance in the pursuit of equality and social justice.

To these ends we invite authors interested in collaborating to submit an abstract for review. Submissions are encouraged from a diversity of disciplinary areas including, but not limited to, postcolonial studies, geography, architecture, landscape architecture, history, anthropology, urban studies, planning, design, heritage studies, and cultural studies. We especially encourage submissions from early career researchers and researchers from non-English speaking backgrounds.

Submission timeframes are as follows:

It is anticipated that the special issue will be published in late 2021 or early 2022.

Further information on the journal Landscape Research and the journal’s submission requirements can be found at https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/clar20/current.

Please direct all inquiries and/or submissions to the Special Editors:

We look forward to hearing from you.