Charlottesville

“Charlottesville 2017” is about the various dimensions that created the white supremacist demonstrations on August 11 and 12 of 2017. Along with the history, it explains the responses to what happened on those two days and how it reflects the racist and antisemitic undertones that the city has always had. The introduction explains the immediate explanations for the white supremacist demonstrations, the historical context of monument erection like the Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee monuments, and how lynching and the University of Virginia had an active part in this racist history. John Edwin Mason in “History, Mines and Ours” retells his participation in the city council’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials, and Public Spaces. The commission concluded that the Robert E. Lee Monument should be taken down because it highlighted the trauma and pain of the “Lost Cause and the time when it was popular. Mason then transitioned to a discussion of Rufus Holsinger’s photographs of Black people in the 20th century. He states that the images created illustrated certain importance of Black visibility and the power those images can have on aiding Black people in reclaiming Charlottesville and “a truer history of the city” (34).
“VAE VICTIS” by Asher D. Biemann explains that the complexity of antisemitism through using the literature and philosophy of Baruch Spinoza, a scholar whose positioning in Spain came from his ancestors expellment from the Catholic empire. Biemann highlights that antisemitism was ingrained in the white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville. These demonstrations exemplified the deeply rooted judeophobia that is transnational. “On Listening” by Bonnie Gordon, describes the intentionality of Richard Spencer, one of the white supremacists behind the events on August 11 and 12. Through looking at his history, it is clear that the objects used, chants started, and the geography of the protests was based on antisemitic symbolism. Gordan argues that scholars in the humanities can fight against this by unveiling and dissecting the racist histories in the events and in the institutions that stand parallel to them (i.e. UVA). Guian McKee’s, “Race, Place, and The Social Responsibilities of UVA in the Aftermath of August 11 and 12” claims that while UVA stood against the events of August 11 and 12, it alluded to the integral racism that the university exacerbated when dealing with laborers, housing, and the larger Charlottesville community. While comparing to the actions of other PWI’s, McKee claims that actions done by the university to tackle the inherent oppression of Black people can aid the community and reimagine the academic space.

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