Guantánamo Public Memory Project: Confronting Contested Histories through Collaboration


Nightingale Brown House, 357 Benefit Street, Providence RI
Public lecture by Liz Ševčenkofounder and director of the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, coordinated at Columbia University

“Guantánamo” has become an international symbol of America’s “War on Terror,” but it’s been an integral part of American politics and policy for more than a century, used to contain a wide range of people perceived as threats: base workers accused of espionage in the Cold War; Haitian refugees with HIV in the early days of AIDS; and suspected “enemy combatants.” Its “legal black hole” has been a laboratory for developing new approaches to immigration, public health, national security, and other issues outside existing US law. 

Guantánamo Public Memory Project is working to build public awareness of the long history of the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba -- before and after 9-11 -- and facilitate dialogue on the future of this place, its people, and its policies. Through a collaboration involving Brown and 10 other university’s public humanities programs, students and their communities from Miami to Minnesota are developing a traveling exhibit, web platform, and mobile-phone response strategy to connect local perspectives into a national conversation. The talk will explore the potential and pitfalls of collaborating across difference to confront deeply contested histories.

(opening event for the Master's in Public Humanities Program Open House)