Tags: knowledge, race/ethnicity, war/military, collective memory, culture, museums, sites of memory, symbolic power, 00 to 05 mins
Access: The Daily Show
Summary: In this clip Jon Stewart notes that next year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War and takes the opportunity to respond to an educational video produced by the Sons of Confederate Vets, which appears to celebrate the South's secessionist history. Stewart is joined by "senior Black correspondant" Larry Wilmore and the duo level a satirical critique against those who celebrate this history, arguing that celebrating secession is akin to celebrating slavery. It's not the case that slavery is only discussed in politically correct accounts of the American Civil War, Wilmore explains, slavery is in fact explicitly mentioned in actual succession documents. In my view, the clip would work well in a class grappling with the sociology of collective memory and can be used to help demonstrate why sociologists analyze museums and other projects of commemoration. The video lays bare the fact that interpretations of historical events are always political projects. They are, in a sense, more about symbolic power in the present than the accuracy of events in the past.
Thanks to Sociological Images for suggesting the clip.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
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