J. David Maxson
My dissertation engages the memorialization of traumatic events in New Orleanian history, focusing on the movement of information along the interstices of bodies, material landscapes, and public memory. The commemorations selected for this project represent defining historical moments from New Orleans’ past: the birth of jazz, the history of enslavement, the contemporary murder crisis, and the 2005 flooding of the city. In considering various monuments and commemorative events, this dissertation will examine the ways that traumatic pasts are dredged up and transfigured in service of present needs. Borrowing from scholarship in rhetoric studies, landscape studies, and anthropology, I approach the city of New Orleans as a memoryscape; a turbulent site where specific pasts are reanimated, contested, and changed in the lived present.