In Jeffrey Schnapp’s lecture on monuments he spoke about the role of monuments in modern history and how monuments became so abundant and also why they were so frequently scrutinized by the public of their respective nation. Professor Schnapp began his lecture with a discussion of what we consider a modern monument. The definition he provided was that a modern monument was “a commemorative statue that marks a time or memory,” and he gave the example of the Arc de Triomphe. He stated the the Industrial Revolution is truly what gave rise to the abundance of monuments we have today. This definition of monuments and their development during the Industrial Revolution relates directly to our political scene. It was made clear by Professor Schnapp that monuments were directly related to their country’s leader at the time and also to history at the time. This can be compared to Trumps victory of the presidency and its relation to the media coverage he received during the election. Now that he has become the president-elect he plans to build a massive monument along our southern border in his wall. This just goes to show how history at the time and the media coverage Trump received during the campaign and in general surrounding his role in politics were directly related to a new monument that is going to be built in our country.
Another topic Professor Schnapp discussed was specifically the Victory Monument in Bolzano, Italy that was built on top of where the old monument was with the stones from it as well. It was built originally as a dedication to the soliders of WWI and now has been turned into a museum with inscriptions like “here at the fatherland’s border, plant the banners. From here we enlighten others with language, law, and the arts.” The most controversial aspect of the transformation of the historic monument was the digital ring put around one of the massive pillars in the front of the monument. This originally sparked controversy and protest from many people including the mayor of Bolzano. I thought this was especially interesting that a monument could be just altered and changed so drastically as putting a ring around a column and ruining its symmetry in the front, even when people such as the mayor were protesting it. This monument has since become a piece of architecture that has brought much tourism and leads to many people traveling there just to visit this particular museum and monument. I thought this related to our assumptions about human nature and how we think about things, because this is a major monument in Italy’s history and although it now bring much tourism to the area and boosts the economy, it still has been vandalized in a way and is never quite the same in terms of its pure stunning architecture. This relates to peoples assumptions about human nature because even though according to Professor Schnapp the mayor of Bolzano originally was opposed to the ring on the column, he was eventually convinced that it was okay because of the benefits and clear success the transformation of the monument had been. This can be drawn in to the definition of a monument itself and how although it is a mark of time or history, it does not necessarily need some unique form of respect or admiration, for it truly only represents one leader, of one nation, of one time period in our vast human history. This can again be tied into our current political scene, and how much of our country is protesting and against having Trump as their president, and yet he is going to create a massive monument that will probably remain as a part of history for many years. Many are against Trump’s comments he has made and will not tolerate him leading their country, but at the same time he is now the president-elect and plans to create a massive monument of a wall along our southern border. This shows how monuments can truly be created regularly in our modern time and can be altered in our modern time, but this does not mean they are necessarily a representation of an entire nation’s thoughts or wishes. This also shows how although monuments can be highly important to an area and can be huge in terms of counting towards historical records, and how they generally tie into the political scene and the leadership scene of a nation at that point in history.