In Conversation With The Rosenbach: Pennoni Panels at the Rosenbach

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Date / Time

  • February 12, 2019
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


2008-2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, United States

A collaboration with the Drexel University’s Pennoni Honors College

The Justice of Memory: Evaluating monuments in a changing culture

This program is free to attend, but seating is limited; advance registration is strongly recommended.

Drexel University’s Pennoni Honors College brings their illuminating panel series to the Rosenbach for an engaging discussion of the state of commemorative monuments in America today. Statues, buildings, commemorative plaques, and literature help define our identities, acknowledge our history, and articulate our progress. They highlight who and what we believe to be important. But certain events or cultural shifts can make us question how we want to both remember and honor the past. Conflicts over the legacies of Confederate statues led to their removal in several cities, inspired protests over controversial figures and memorials, and have encouraged the nation to question the functions and problems with memorialization. How do we handle hindsight? Does removing markers of the past invite us to ignore the more controversial actions and people within our history? To what extent do these physical objects accentuate and perpetuate the traumas of the past? This panel discussion and Q&A offers an opportunity to discuss how we acknowledge our past, address our present, and prepare for our future.

Our Panel: Jane Golden, Jonathan Zimmerman, Lorene Cary. Moderated by Dr. Paula Marantz Cohen.

About the Panelists

Jane Golden has been the driving force of Mural Arts Philadelphia since 1984, overseeing its growth from a small city agency into the nation’s largest public art program, a global model for transforming public spaces and individual lives through art. Under Golden’s direction, Mural Arts has created over 4,000 works of public art through innovative collaborations with community-based organizations, city agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, the private sector, and philanthropies.

Jonathan Zimmerman is Professor of History of Education at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. A former Peace Corps volunteer and high school social studies teacher, Zimmerman is the author of The Case for Contention: Teaching Controversial Issues in American Schools (with Emily Robertson, 2017) and six other books. He is also a frequent contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New York Review of Books, and other popular periodicals. Zimmerman came to Penn in 2016 after teaching for twenty years at New York University, where he served as chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2008 Zimmerman received NYU’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the university’s highest recognition for teaching.

Working with citizen committees and director Louis Massiah, Lorene Cary wrote scripts for the Independence Mall President’s House videos to interpret the lives of the nine people enslaved in President George Washington’s household, including two who escaped. Cary’s scholarship-girl memoir, Black Ice, was hailed by critics as “brutally honest” and “stunning.” Her first novel, The Price of a Child, fictionalized the story of a female fugitive from slavery, and was selected as the inaugural choice of One Book, One Philadelphia. Other works include a girlfriend novel, PrideFREE! Great Escapes from Slavery on the Underground Railroad, for young readers; and If Sons, Then Heirs, a family saga with love, land, and lynching at its center. Ladysitting: My Year with Nana at the End of Her Century, has already been described as: brilliant, funny, sensitive, and complex.

Dr. Paula Marantz Cohen will serve as moderator and the host of the live taping of this episode of The Drexel InterView, a recorded conversation with a nationally known or emerging talent in the arts, culture, science, or business. Cohen, Distinguished Professor of English and Dean of the Pennoni Honors College, received her BA in English and French from Yale University and her PhD in English from Columbia University. She is the author of five non-fiction books on literature, film, and culture and five novels, including the bestselling Jane Austen in Boca and the Young Adult novel, Beatrice Bunson’s Guide to Romeo and Juliet. She directed the documentary film, Two Universities and the Future of China, is co-editor of jml: Journal of Modern Literature, and host of The Drexel InterView. Her essays and op-eds appear frequently in the Wall Street Journal, the Times Literary Supplement, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Join the Conversation

A series of informal, intimate talks given by literary and cultural luminaries, In Conversation With The Rosenbach delves into fascinating histories, intellectual curiosities, and inspiring ideas. Each program offers audience members a chance to join the conversation after the talk and share their own thoughts and questions. In Conversation With The Rosenbach is supported by a grant from the Christian R. & Mary F. Lindback Foundation.