Mapping Confederate Icons and Their Contestation

Authors: Jocelyn Evans*, University of West Florida, Melody Huckaby Rowlett, University of Oklahoma, Katherine Sims, University of West Florida
Topics: Political Geography, Cultural Geography
Keywords: spatial politics, memorials, monuments
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Roosevelt 3, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper examines the spatial politics of Confederate memorials in the American South. In the midst of their contestation, the Southern Poverty Law Center produced a dataset of 1,700 public symbols of the Confederacy. It geo-locates statuary, flags, holidays, schools, streets, and other markers commemorating Confederate heritage. Using this data and the accompanying SPLC report, we visualize Confederate icons and their contestation. We then consider potentially significant factors associated with the presence of monuments, schools, and highways honoring the Confederate cause. From this theoretical examination, we develop a model to empirically analyze the public contestation of icons as well as decisions to remove or retain them. Predicting creation and contestation, we control for factors including geography, population diversity, local and elite political orientation, socioeconomic character of the region, documented lynchings, and Klan activity. This project speaks to the session's theme of spatial politics of commemorative landmarks as focal points for broader struggles over the formation and maintenance of community memory and identity.

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